Waymo is planning to have a self-driving taxi service on the road by the end of the year in Arizona. GM’s Cruise has its sights on an autonomous taxi hitting San Francisco streets in 2019. In Dubai, a self-driving taxi service is already in testing.
Now, Intel’s Mobileye autonomous vehicle tech division plans to roll out a similar autonomous car service in Israel early next year.
Announced Monday, Intel is building out an electric vehicle fleet with Champion Motors and the Volkswagen Group that will use Mobileye’s self-driving software to autonomously shuttle passengers around Israel.
The service will start in early 2019 and eventually grow into a fully operational service in 2022 with a few dozen cars at first and then hundreds of the self-driving EVs. That’s the plan, anyway.
Intel’s service could kick off with Level 4 autonomy cars, meaning human drivers aren’t necessary for the car to drive in nearly any scenario. It’s the same autonomy level Waymo’s been testing in suburban Phoenix. If these kick off, it’ll be the first commercial use of Mobileye’s AV Kit.
The new venture, known as “New Mobility in Israel,” is somewhat different to other programs around the globe in how accepting the Israeli government is of the service. It’s not a pilot program, but a full-blown commercial car service run by machines. Intel said Israel has offered regulatory support and will provide access to infrastructure as needed, along with traffic and other data.
The U.S. government is somewhat dubious of self-driving cars, but not resistant to the tech. Nevertheless, certain states like California, Arizona, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and others are moving ahead of federal programming and testing.
Even if the Intel self-driving car service is only happening in Israel, it shows that this tech isn’t an anomaly. What Cruise, Waymo and other startups are trying to do isn’t a one-off. The self-driving taxis are coming.