Intel announces self-driving taxi service for Munich and Tel Aviv

This week, Intel announced that one of its subsidiaries is starting an automated taxi service in Munich and Tel Aviv next year, unveiling a new self-driving car for the task. This step is vital in the development of the company’s automated driving technology.

Intel announced the news at the 2021 IAA Mobility event in Munich. Intel’s automated driving subsidiary Mobileye revealed the new six-passenger autonomous vehicle it’ll use for the service, starting in 2022. Called the AVKIT58, the car will be equipped with eight of Mobileye’s EyeQ5 SoCs, which will allow for level 4 and level 5 driving automation, which should let it potentially operate without a safety driver at the wheel. They chose Germany because it is the first country to allow level 4 self-driving cars on its roads.

The vehicle’s equipped technologies include a combination of cameras, radar sensors, and lidar sensors. It will work based on crowd-sourced map data from Mobileye’s Road Experience Management.

Intel will operate the vehicles under its Moovit brand—a subsidiary handling transportation technology. In Germany, they will also be working with local mobility company Sixt. Customers who use Mobileye’s taxi service will be able to order rides through either Moovit’s or Sixt’s mobile apps.

Mobileye has become somewhat of a competitor to Tesla in the automated vehicle space. Its use of lidar, combined with cameras to train their self-driving vehicles and give them awareness of their surroundings, contrasts with Tesla’s method involving AI video training.

The IAA Mobility event is part of the larger German International Motor Show dedicated specifically to the future of transportation. It covers upcoming technology for things including cars, bikes, and urban planning. Even though the IAA Mobility event covers topics like sustainability and the environment, it has been met with protests accusing the event of greenwashing.