Spain: Seat is preparing to enter the ride-hailing business with autonomous cars

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This article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English via Google Translate. Click here to read the original article.

Having consolidated its results, and as has happened with the electric plans for the Volkswagen Group, Seat wants to be in the starting line of the robotic taxi business. This statement has been made by none other than its business development manager, Arantxa Alonso, in an interview for Autonews.

As it happens with the electric car, of which Seat will be the first brand of the Volkswagen Group to launch a model already next year, the Martorell brand could take advantage of how advanced this technology is in its parent company.

Volkswagen has already developed several versions of its robotic Sedric and, in fact, the last one is being released this week as part of the CEBIT technology fair in Hanover.

“Our R & D department should be able to deliver the first prototypes of the Seat robo-taxi by the end of this year and we could show them to the public a few months later.” We have to think laterally, because otherwise, someone with disruptive ideas can appear and surprise us. This is something that happens quickly and is difficult to foresee, “Alonso assured in the aforementioned interview.

This year, within the framework of the Geneva Motor Show, several manufacturers showed their autonomous car projects and in several cases, such as Renault or Navya, the vision they have of this line of business is to produce these autonomous vehicles exclusively designed to displace passengers in urban environments.

In fact, later this year, Renault plans to start testing its robot taxi service with a small fleet of autonomous vehicles in Paris. There, the French brand will test the capacity of its EZ-GO vehicle to move between the dense traffic, which will be the environment for these vehicles that will not travel more than 60 km/h.

And they are not the only ones. Just a week ago, Waymo announced that they will launch a robot taxi service built on 62,000 units of the Chrysler Pacifica in what has been considered as an association between the autonomous car unit of Google and the FCA Group. For its part, Volvo believes that by the middle of the next decade, a third of its cars will be autonomous.

Also General Motors and Ford have announced that they will deploy robotic taxis in urban environments as early as 2019 for GM and in 2021 for Ford.

The goal that Seat marks with the arrival of its robot taxis is to be among this group of brands that lead the development of mobility services based on autonomous driving. As revealed by its business development chief at Autonews, the company’s plans would be for this business to be carried out by Xmoba Ventures, a company that Seat founded this year.

Mobility services based on these shared autonomous cars would, in turn, be handled by Respiro, a car-sharing company based in Madrid that Seat acquired in March. The plans of expansion desgranados by Alonso are ambitious, since they hope to extend these new services to other Spanish cities and to arrive at Portugal, Italy, and France towards 2020.

According to Arantxa Alonso, this type of services can reduce the costs of transporting people by 90% and “even the biggest lovers of cars will stop using them due to this cost factor.”

This article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English via Google Translate. Click here to read the original article.

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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.