February 14, 2022
Benteler EV Systems, Beep Inc., and Mobileye (a division of Intel), have announced a strategic collaboration to develop and deploy automotive-grade, fully electric autonomous shuttles for public and private communities across North America. Aimed for first- and last-mile use cases in urban areas, the shuttles are expected to begin production deployments in the U.S. in 2024.
The collaboration between the three companies looks to develop and deploy a fully autonomous (SAE Level 4) electric mover for the U.S., designed to meet automotive industry and safety standards for public road use. The purpose-built autonomous mover from Benteler will be supported by Mobileye’s self-driving system (Mobileye Drive), and supported by Beep’s deployment and operations systems, technology and services.
“Multi-passenger micro-transit needs are ever-increasing in our cities and towns globally and must be addressed in order to reduce road congestion, protect the environment and provide safe, reliable mobility for all to access,” said Hinrich Woebcken, an advisory board member for Beep and the former CEO of Volkswagen North America. “Bringing to market an affordable, automotive-grade, electric, autonomous mover is a solution that will transform mobility as we know it today.”
Belteler said it will use its scalable and modular platform for electric vehicles, the Benteler Electric Drive System to develop the mover, and integrate all individual subsystems into the final vehicle, including industrialization and production. The production will take place in the U.S., with an ambition to roll out the mover to other countries in the future.
“Autonomous movers are the solution for future public transportation, solving the mobility challenges of increasing urbanization and emissions,” said Marco Kollmeier, managing director at Benteler EV Systems. “These movers need to be robust for 24/7 public or commercial use, at optimized costs and with excellent riding comfort. Consequently, we decided to go for this strategic collaboration with our partners Mobileye and Beep, to build autonomous movers delivering exactly against these market demands. Another example of how we make the mobility of tomorrow lighter, safer and more sustainable.”
Mobileye has shipped more than 100 million of its computer vision solutions, with autonomous fleets operating in Israel, Germany, Japan, China, France and the U.S. Beep said it has successfully tested autonomous electric shuttles for tens of thousands of riders over tens of thousands of road miles in 2021 alone. The company estimated that its technology has prevented many cubic tons of carbon emissions, by replacing fossil fuel-based transit services with cleaner electric vehicles.
“Beel’s well-established U.S. footprint for our autonomous mobility operations model, which incorporates machine learning, contextual route intelligence and Beep’s existing centralized command center platform, combined with Benteler’s and Mobileye’s manufacturing expertise, will make this the first alignment of all capabilities needed to successfully scale the deployment of this important transformation in passenger mobility,” said Joe Moye, CEO of Beep.