The autonomous car revolution is upon us.
The automobile has never been smarter: modern vehicles can make split-second decisions that would take the average human driver much longer, which could possibly save lives. This train of thought has led many manufacturers to pursue autonomous driving technology, and while companies such as Tesla have started getting it right with models such as the Model 3 and Model S, true autonomous driving is still in the development stage. One of the industries pushing for autonomous vehicles is the taxi industry. Companies such as Lyft have unleashed self-driving taxis onto US streets, and major players such as Hyundai have also entered the driverless robotaxi game in recent months. The latest company to do so is Intel subsidiary Mobileye, and Sixt, an international provider of mobility services based in Germany best known for its rental car services.
At the recently held IAA Mobility event (aka the Munich motor show), Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger and Sixt SE Co-CEO Alexander Sixt announced that they would be combining forces to create a driverless robotaxi service in Munich starting in 2022.
According to Sixt, the new taxi service will initially make use of a fleet of Chinese Nio ES8 SUVs fitted with Mobileye's fully integrated self-driving system, known as Mobileye Drive. The announcement comes as a recently enacted autonomous vehicle law comes into play in Germany which allows for driverless vehicles on German roads.
"Germany has shown global leadership toward a future of autonomous mobility by expediting crucial AV legislation. Our ability to begin robotaxi operations in Munich next year would not be possible without this new law," Gelsinger said.
Riders will be able to hail a taxi via a dedicated Sixt app, or the Moovit app and the service will also be included in Sixt's all-encompassing mobility platform ONE, which combines ride-hailing, car rental, car-sharing, and car subscriptions.
"This strategic collaboration is the next step in expanding our integrated mobility platform ONE and underlines our company's evolution towards becoming the industry's leading provider of innovative and digital premium mobility. We are delighted to leverage the remarkable technology leadership of Mobileye to bring driverless mobility to customers in Germany and beyond," Alexander Sixt concluded.