Amber Mobility – the Eindhoven based startup that focuses on a mobility concept using shared vehicles – wants to implement self-driving cars as soon as next year. According to Amber CEO Steven Nelemans Eindhoven will be “the first city in the world to use self-driving cars for large-scale commercial use”.
Together with several development partners including TomTom, KPN, TNO, NVIDIA, Microsoft, and the local Dutch municipalities of Eindhoven and Helmond, Amber plans to equip electric BMW i3’s currently used in the business-to-business car sharing platform Amber Mobility with automated driving capabilities. Amber plans to have the self-driving cars on the road in Eindhoven by mid-2018, with the ambition of expanding the service to the rest of the Netherlands and Europe. Companies in the Eindhoven region already using the Amber service will be the first to benefit from this new technology.
“Autonomous driving is not as far in the future as you might think”Steven Nelemans, CEO Amber
Operation Self-Driving Eindhoven
TomTom will act as the map service provider, and KPN will provide the network necessary for location determination and data communication. TNO will take care of the implementation of the vehicle automation software and testing of the sensors and cameras. Daan de Cloe, Program Director Mobility and Logistics at TNO: “We’re looking forward to seeing our software implemented in the automated vehicles of Amber Mobility and to speeding up the realization of their use case.” NVIDIA will provide the image processing hardware for the incoming data from cameras and sensors. Finally, Microsoft provides the Azure cloud platform, artificial intelligence, and data resources needed to process the vast amounts of data produced from the image processing and other sources.
The municipalities of Eindhoven and Helmond also play an important role, because of the need for agile regulation. Amber wants to use bus lanes at night for automated driving – a first step towards completely autonomous driving. Without the support of the government of the Eindhoven Brainport region, implementation would become impossible, Nelemans states. Eindhoven mayor John Jorritsma: “It’s only natural that we would support Amber to be the first to implement autonomous vehicles. By doing so we are reinforcing the Eindhoven Brainport region’s position as a leading center for high-tech innovation.”
Amber and automated driving
Amber is an Eindhoven-based startup that has recently drawn international attention for the development of its own modular, autonomous, and customizable electric car designed specifically to be shared. Through their car sharing service called Amber Mobility, Amber plans to offer both business and private users across Europe on-demand access to a car at all times and within walking distance, for just 33 euro per week.
“Autonomous driving is crucial for the future of mobility,” explains Amber CEO Steven Nelemans. “If we want to be able to offer a mobility service that’s more efficient, convenient, and affordable than car ownership itself, we need autonomous cars in order to make sure that people have access to mobility at all times.”
“Autonomous driving is not as far in the future as you might think,” he goes on to say. “We’re a small company, which means that we can achieve this faster than many others can. I’m really excited to have so many experienced and influential partners working with us on this.”