Germany is preparing to start its Level 4 autonomous driving (AV) project using Mobileye and fifteen NIO ES8 models starting in 2023 until the end of 2024 in two cities near Frankfurt, Darmstadt and Offenbach. Although the Level 4 AV allows a driverless technology, security drivers are still scheduled to be in the vehicles during the testing period.
“The plan is for the first vehicles in autonomous Level 4 to travel through Darmstadt and the Offenbach district throughout Germany,” the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) announced at a press conference in Frankfurt on Monday.
Germany is part of NIO’s expansion plans for late 2022 alongside the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden and — as unveiled during the last NIO Day —the company expects to be present in 25 countries by 2025.
In late 2019, Intel’s Mobileye and NIO signed a strategic collaboration on the development of highly automated and autonomous vehicles (AV). In mid-January, a NIO ES8 Model was seen on the road in a city near Berlin, the German Capital. The vehicle had a German License plate from Munich and was seen in Lower Saxony, Braunschweig.
In late 2019, NIO announced a collaboration with Mobileye on the development of highly automated and autonomous vehicles (AV) for consumer markets in China and other major territories. As said at the time, NIO will engineer and manufacture a self-driving system designed by Mobileye, building on its Level 4 (L4) AV kit that targets consumer autonomy and engineered for automotive qualification standards, quality, cost and scale.
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A recently enacted autonomous vehicle (AV) law permits driverless vehicles on German roads, allowing Mobileye robotaxis to begin early-rider testing on Munich. “Germany has shown global leadership toward a future of autonomous mobility by expediting crucial AV legislation. Our ability to begin robotaxi operations in Munich next year would not be possible without this new law,” Gelsinger said earlier this year.
Although NIO offers a battery swap system, those are not planned for the first phase of the project: “The NIO ES8s are designed to have enough battery charge for a full day of operation,” a Mobileye spokesperson said to Golem.de .
“Mobileye’s crowdsourced mapping technology REM and the RSS driving model mean that the vehicles not only have knowledge of the environment from the start, but can also adapt immediately to changing road situations,” the spokesperson added.
The vehicles will be equipped with the necessary sensors and software: eight EyeQ5 system-on-chips (SoCs) with the chips achieving a performance of 24 tera operations per second (tops) with a consumption of 10 watts.
Mobileye system uses a full sensor set consisting of 13 cameras, three long-range laser scanners (lidars), six short-range lidars and six radar sensors. In addition to sensors, the system uses a crowd-based map and a formal model for safe driving decisions (Responsibility-Sensitive Safety [RSS] / Responsible Safety).
Earlier this week, NIO’s Europe Vice-President Hui Zhang was present at the Join Swedish Summit in Stockholm ahead of the expansion of the electric vehicle maker to the Nordic country. In an interview to the financial newspaper Dagens Industri, Zhang was asked about NIO‘s competition in Sweden with Tesla and the Swedish Polestar already established answering that the company is competing with itself.
Earlier this week, NIO announced opened the orders of the 2022 ES8, ES6, and EC6 models. The upgraded versions were unveiled last week during NIO’s product launch event with the arrival time to NIO Houses expected for July and the beginning of the deliveries for August.
Last week, the company hosted a product launch event where it launched a new medium five-seater SUV with an NT2.0 platform, NIO ES7. The model was rated a five-star safety of C-NCAP and Euro NCAP tests, a Cd of 0.263 and a tarting price of RMB 468,000 ($69,700 USD).
On the first day of June, NIO reported 7,024 vehicles delivered in May showing an increase year-over-year and also from the previous month, when delivered 5,074 units. On NIO App, William Li answered to customers and enthusiasts saying “Thank you all! We will continue to work hard in June”.