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VW to launch autonomous electric taxis in Israel next year

by Drew Johnson

The project will hit full scale by 2022.

Volkswagen has announced plans to launch Israel's first self-driving ride hailing service early next year.

In order to get the autonomous taxi service off the ground, VW is partnering with Mobileye -- which is now owned by Intel -- and Champion Motors. According to the terms of the joint venture, which will operate as "New Mobility in Israel,” VW will supply the project with electric vehicles, while Mobileye will provide its level 4 autonomous vehicle kit to handle the self-driving aspect. Champion Motors will oversee the fleet and run the venture's control center.

New Mobility in Israel will initially launch with a fleet of a few dozen autonomous taxis. That number is expected to grow into the hundreds relatively quickly. VW hopes to reach full commercialization of the joint venture by 2022.

"We firmly believe that self-driving electric vehicles will offer Israel and cities around the world safe, clean and emission-free mobility, which is accessible and convenient. We are looking forward to this partnership with our local partners Mobileye and Champion Motors from Israel,” said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group.

VW has not announced what electric vehicle or electric vehicles it will provide to the program. The company is also keeping quiet on where the initiative might launch next.

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