The joint venture will also partner with public transit operators across Europe, licensing Via’s On-Demand Shuttle Operating System to enable cities to significantly improve urban mobility while reducing congestion without incurring any additional infrastructure costs.
STUTTGART, Germany, Sept. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ —
Mercedes-Benz Vans is entering the ride-sharing sector. To this end, the van division of Daimler AG is setting up a joint venture with the US startup company Via.
Daimler Mobility Services and Via
Daimler Mobility Services additionally joins in as a strategic investor in Via. The corresponding declarations were signed today in Stuttgart. Unlike other ride-hailing companies, Via has focused on developing, from the ground up, a scalable and on-demand shared ride solution. The intelligent Via algorithm supports smart public transport, enabling a dynamic mass transit system that reduces traffic volume in urban areas. The fusion of Via’s technology with the engineering of Mercedes-Benz Vans creates the perfect match for efficient, affordable and sustainable ride-sharing. As part of the cooperation, Mercedes-Benz Vans is investing 50 million US dollars in the new joint venture.
The cooperation is another milestone of the adVANce strategy of Mercedes-Benz Vans focussing on the transformation from a vehicle manufacturer to a provider of holistic van system solutions.
The investment is part of the Daimler strategy focussing on pioneering innovations and digitization, especially in the four future fields of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use and services (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric).
“On-demand ride-sharing offers many new ways of making city traffic efficient, needs-based and sustainable – especially when it involves the use of spacious, safe and comfortable vans,” says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “Via is one of the most successful providers in the growing ride-sharing sector while Mercedes-Benz Vans has the perfect vehicles that are being continuously optimised for this job. By deepening our cooperation with Via, we are thus taking the next logical step in the context of our strategy for the future and are expanding our range of new mobility services.”
On-Demand Ride Sharing with Vans – Efficient Urban Transport
Together, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via aim to introduce on-demand shared rides in Europe. Via’s revolutionary technology is changing the way people get around cities. With Via’s intelligent shared rides, passengers headed in the same direction are matched with a single van, increasing vehicle utilization while relieving the strain on inner-city roads. London will be the first city to launch the new joint service this year. Other European metropolises will soon follow.
A New HQ in Europe
Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via have been successfully cooperating since 2015. The joint venture between Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via will operate as a new entity with headquarters in Amsterdam. The joint goal is to bring on-demand shared rides to Europe. The joint venture will not only launch its own service in European cities, but will also license Via’s proprietary technology – the On-Demand Shuttle Operating System – to third parties, such as transport service providers and local public transit operators. By enabling vans to be dynamically routed between thousands of virtual bus stops distributed across the city, this innovative approach to public transit helps reduce traffic volume in cities without requiring the construction of costly new infrastructure.
Via is re-engineering public transit, from a regulated system of rigid routes and schedules to a fully dynamic, on-demand network. Via’s mobile app connects multiple passengers who are headed the same way, allowing riders to seamlessly share a premium vehicle. First launched in New York City in September 2013, the Via platform currently operates in New York City, Chicago, and Washington DC, providing over a million rides per month, and is growing rapidly. Via also licenses its revolutionary on-demand transit technology to transportation operators globally. For more information, visit www.ridewithvia.com.
SOURCE Daimler North America