05 Jul 2017


Two startups in Berlin are developing on-demand shuttle buses, equipped with software that figures out where people are and where they want to go, tracing algorithmically optimized routes around town. One is owned by Volkswagen and will deploy fleets of VW vans, while the other is building an adapted platform for urban planners to link roving shuttles into local transport networks.

Volkswagen’s move into the field is via the Berlin-based startup Moia, which launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in December last year. It is planning to roll out electric shuttles in Hamburg in 2018, making a bet on an urban future where hundreds of six-person vehicles roam the streets, scooping up people who are heading in roughly the same direction and dropping them off at different points along the way.

Berlin-based startup door2door is a minibus service that works with local governments to supplement the public transport system. Co-founder Maxim Nohroudi says today’s ride-sharing services need to be connected with public transport, since “cities want to control and operate their own mobility platforms.”

Door2door is currently trialling its shuttle in Berlin to showcase how on-demand rides work in tandem with public transport. For example, a shuttle could go to a spot where crowds typically come out of a subway stop and and take them to another point in the city.

While the German developers of autonomous vehicles are still in a premature stage, French autonomous vehicle maker Navya announces that Michigan will be the location for its first US assembly plant.

Building on Partnership with the University of Michigan, Navya Plans to Begin Assembly of Its Fully Autonomous Electric Arma Shuttles in Southeast Michigan By Fourth Quarter of 2017.

Thanks to the strong partnership with the university, Navya has decided to manufacture its vehicles in the Ann Arbor area.


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