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Volkswagen announces spin-off to focus on ride-hailing and autonomous vehicles

Volkswagen, Moia
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Everyone seems to be caught up in the “self-driving car” frenzy. Considering that the technology is generating significant interest from companies like Apple and Google, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if companies that are directly related to automobiles (cab aggregators, manufacturers and the sort) take a more radical approach. Volkswagen has announced the launch of a brand new a spin-off company that will focus solely on new mobility solutions.

The new spin-off is called Moia and it will work towards expanding Volkswagen’s reach in niches like ride-hailing and on-demand autonomous vehicles. Volkswagen has decided to base the company in Berlin. The choice of location is not surprising in the least considering that Germany is the hub of automobiles manufacturers and is home to some of the latest technology in the field.

Volkswagen is not the only car manufacturer who is spending significant resources on ensuring that it has a piece of the self-driving and cab aggragation pie when it gets baked in the future. Others such as Ford and General Motors have had much the same bright idea. However, while these companies are partnering up with cab aggregators and pooling resources to come up with mobility solutions for the future — Volkswagen has opted for a more direct approach.

The company said that one of the first projects undertaken by Moia will include electric commuter shuttles hail-able through a smartphone app — kind of like Uber but with the electric shuttle part, which does add to the cool factor. Apart from that, the company is almost certain to get into self-driving as well. However, no details were offered on that front.

Meanwhile, Ole Harms, executive director and head of new business and mobility services at Volkswagen, will be staying in-charge of the company’s new mobility ambitions as CEO of Moia. He will take charge of the new company from January 1st, 2017. Moia’s pilot programs are expected to kick off sometime around the same time as well and the company might test some of its projects in Berlin itself before taking them to other cities.

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