Visitors to Israel next year could hail a self-driving taxi, according to Volkswagen and the Intel-owned Israeli firm Mobileye.
The German car giant has set its sights on the start-up nation in a bid to outmanoeuvre big motoring and tech rivals such as Google’s owner Alphabet and General Motors, as the race to develop driverless vehicles hots up.
Intel, which bought autonomous drive technology firm Mobileye for $15.3 billion last year, said the joint venture with Volkwagen was “no pilot,” adding that the first self-driving taxis will appear on Israeli roads early next year, with “hundreds” by 2022.
Under the arrangement, Volkswagen will supply a fleet of electric cars, Mobileye will handle the self-driving technology, and Champion Motors, Israel’s second largest car importer and distributor, will run fleet management operations.
The cars will be retrofitted with Mobileye’s AV kit, described as “a turn-key, driverless solution comprised of hardware, driving policy, safety software and map data”.
Mobileye is separately working with Volkswagen’s big German rival BMW to develop the basics to the next breed of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, which other car-makers will then be able to purchase.
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