Mobileye is an impressive Israeli-owned company that is poised to change the world. The company’s big announcement may be the step the company needs to become the next “big” company. Mobileye, Intel and Volkswagen plan to bring self-driving taxis to Israel in 2019.
Volkswagen has chosen Israel due to the start-up nation label we enjoy, and it’s a move that the company hopes will be able to compete with the likes of General Motors and Google.
Intel, owner of Mobileye after a $15.3 billion buyout last year, has high hopes for the technology. The company claims that there will be self-driving taxis in the “hundreds” by 2022.
How will this help Israelis?
Well, it depends. There will be some taxi jobs lost, and this is definitely going to be a negative. Share taxis transported 34.7 million passengers in 2015 alone, and this figure doesn’t include the 90 million rides that private taxis take per year.
That’s over 124 million potential taxi rides that Mobileye can target.
The good news is that it will take a long time before there are enough driverless taxis to impact taxi drivers. In the future, depending on pricing, it may make more sense for infrequent drivers to sell their vehicles and use driverless vehicles, but that’s a long way in the future.
And there are a lot of benefits to driverless technology, too. A lower risk of accidents, greater overall traffic law adherence and an easier time hailing a taxi are just a few of the benefits.
Tourists may also have an easier time hailing a ride, depending on how the partnership allows for rides to be hailed.
Faster and more efficient, the partnership is just a step in the direction of a driverless world. Sure, there may still be people that want to drive themselves, but driverless technology has the potential to stop millions of accidents and deaths annually.
Mobileye will handle the entirety of the self-driving technology, while Volkswagen will provide a fleet of electric cars. Champion Motors, Israel’s carp importer and distributor will be in charge of fleet management.
It’s an exciting time for drivers because roads have the potential to be much safer as autonomous technology hits the road.
The initial testing phase will include dozens of vehicles. Israel is being called the “global beta test site.” Israel’s government will also assist in the venture, making it more likely that the program will be a success. Regulatory and legal assistance as well as access to infrastructure will be provided by the government.
Israel’s start-up-friendly nature will allow for the partnership to avoid many of the hurdles that similar projects are facing in other countries. Offering mobility-as-a-service, the project will make it easier for everyone to hail a taxi. Older drivers that often shouldn’t be on the road any longer can now hail a taxi through a mobility-as-a-service.
No small talk or waiting for a taxi that is late.
Fears of a crazy driver zipping in and out of traffic will be a thing of the past.
And if the partnership doesn’t work well, the entities have made the agreement non-exclusive, meaning that they’re all about to pursue different options. Intel already has partnerships with BMW and Fiat Chrysler, so the latest partnership is a global race to bring a true mobility-as-a-service to fruition.