VW’s radical global plan to tackle Uber
Volkswagen has revealed its latest plan to muscle into the world of on demand ride sharing.
The German car maker has teamed up with Mobileye - which is owned by tech giant Intel - to deploy an autonomous ride hailing service in Israel in a direct challenge to incumbent players Uber and Lyft.
Under the agreement, Volkswagen would provide electric vehicles and Mobileye level four autonomous technology.
A car equipped with level four self-driving technology would be able to complete all the dynamic aspects of driving but only under specific road conditions such as a restricted area or road type.
For instance a level four vehicle would be able to drive safely on highways and well trafficked roads but side streets and more urban areas would require human input.
Outside of the controlled areas the car will request for driver input and will pull the car over if the driver fails to comply.
The venture was approved by the Israeli government, which has pledged to provide the legal and regulatory framework required to make self-driving cars and provide the infrastructure and traffic data.
The test is due to start next year with the aim of bringing the venture up to commercial scale involving several hundred vehicles by 2022.
The Israel project will act as a global beta test for the partnership's future expansion plans.
Volkswagen's boss Herbert Diess says: "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."
However, Volkswagen is not the first company with self-drive ride hailing services. Uber and Waymo - the latter owned by Google's parent company Alphabet - have teamed up with various car manufacturers to commence trialling its own projects.
BMW and Mercedes-Benz also have projects in place to develop on-demand autonomous vehicle services.