Benteler EV Systems, Beep Inc and Mobileye have announced a strategic collaboration to develop and deploy automotive-grade, fully electric, Level 4 autonomous people movers aimed at first- and last-mile journeys in urban areas.

The German, US, Israeli collaboration says production will initially be US-based, starting in 2024, with the ambition to globally roll out the mover to other countries “helping deliver the mobility of the future”.

In broad terms, the purpose-built autonomous mover from Benteler will be underpinned by Mobileye’s self-driving system and supported by Beep’s 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,” explain Hinrich Woebcken, advisory board member for Beep and former CEO of Volkswagen North America. “Bringing to market an affordable, electric, autonomous mover will transform mobility as we know it today.”

Marco Kollmeier, managing director of Bentler describes autonomous movers as “the solution” for future public transportation. “These movers need to be robust for 24/7 public or commercial use, at optimised 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.”

Johann Jungwirth, vice president of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) at Mobileye adds, “The full benefits of autonomy can only be reached with scale. Our aim is to mass-produce first- and last-mile self-driving mobility solutions that will enable the convenient, accessible and safe movement of people across North America.”

Joe Moye, CEO of Beep adds, “Our well-established autonomous mobility operations model, which incorporates machine learning, contextual route intelligence and Beep’s existing centralised command centre platform, combine with Benteler’s and Mobileye’s manufacturing expertise to make this the first alignment of all capabilities needed to successfully scale the deployment of this important transformation in passenger mobility.”