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Driverless taxis could be on German streets as early as next year

Driverless taxis could be on German streets as early as next year

Driverless taxis could be on German streets as early as next year

Autonomous driving company Mobileye is aiming to bring driverless taxis to Germany. These “robot taxis” could find themselves driving down the autobahn sooner rather than later, if the law on autonomous driving is passed as planned.

Driverless taxis could soon be a reality in Germany

Driverless taxis could soon be a reality in Germany. Mobileye, an Israeli autonomous driving company owned by Intel, want to have driverless taxis on the road by next year, should they master Level 4 of autonomous driving: when a vehicle does not require a driver. “Next year we will take the safety driver out and offer fleets of self-driving taxis in the first cities,” said Johann Jungwirth, vice-president of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) at Mobileye.

While Mobileye’s autonomous cars will likely be released in Tel Aviv first, they could soon make their way to German roads. "If all the conditions are right, we would like to come to Germany with our service from next year," says Jungwirth. Mobileye’s vehicles are already being tested in Munich, albeit with security drivers.

As long as the law on autonomous driving passes this summer, as it is expected to, then the Federal Motor Transport Authority can approve the autonomous vehicles and their operation on German roads can be approved by the federal states. "In principle, the law would create the framework for operating driverless mobility solutions in Germany," says Jungwirth.

Can autonomous vehicles keep you safe?

Mobileye has a complex safety system, which Jungwirth says is safer than having a person operate a vehicle. "In our Mobileye Drive self-propelled solution, we operate two systems in parallel in the vehicle: both of them could enable driverless driving independently of one another," he said.

One system uses 11 cameras to analyse the vehicle’s surrounding and make decisions, whilst the other uses two other cameras and data from lidar and radar sensors. "With both systems running in parallel and independently, we can show the authorities that the vehicle is safer than a person."

Currently, VW is the only traditional car manufacturer that has announced its intention to enter into the driverless taxi market, with it aiming to offer this service by 2025. The market does have the potential to be occupied quickly, with several large companies like Google and Apple pouring billions into subsidiary companies that are developing the technology. "In Germany, I would assume that someone who lives in a metropolitan area and is born today no longer needs to get a driver's license,” Jungwirth said.

William Nehra

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William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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