Mobileye and UDelv recently announced a partnership to create driverless last-mile delivery vehicles. When I first read the headlines, I thought this might be Mobileye’s first foray into fully driverless vehicles. Mobileye has for years been the leader in advanced driver assistance systems for cars, but has not yet released a driverless vehicle.
The TechCrunch coverage of the partnership, however, notes that Mobileye has been talking about driverless deployments for quite a while:
“More than two years ago, Mobileye announced plans to launch a kit that includes visual perception, sensor fusion, its REM mapping system and software algorithms. And in 2018, the company made an unlikely turn and announced plans to become a robotaxi operator, not just a supplier. Mobileye also plans to deploy autonomous shuttles with Transdev ATS and Lohr Group beginning in Europe. Mobileye also plans to begin operating an autonomous ride-hailing service in Israel in early 2022.”
That means that, in theory, the UDelv Transports won’t even be the first driverless Mobileye vehicles to market, since the Transports will hit the road in 2023.
An interesting aspect of the Mobileye-UDelv partnership is the presence of Donlen, a Canadian fleet management company that has ordered the first 1,000 UDelv Transports. The roles seem to be that Mobileye will supply the intelligence, UDelv will supply the vehicle platform and teleoperations, and Donlen will manage the vehicles.