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Mercedes partners with BASF to develop autonomous vehicles

Mercedes-Benz Vans and BASF plan to collaborate on mobility topics and work together to forge ahead with innovations.

The two companies are starting their cooperation with the optimisation of individual mobility at BASF’s plant in Ludwigshafen, where they will shortly introduce an on-demand ridesharing system.

Beyond individual transport on the factory premises, the partners also want to test solutions in electric mobility, digitalisation and autonomous driving.

The on-demand ridesharing system features vans that employees and guests can order for travel around the BASF site.

The system runs via an app that determines optimum vehicle routes, and is intended to augment the existing timetabled bus services with the aim of reducing individual traffic on the site while simultaneously improving mobility.

The service will be operated and provided by ViaVan, a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz Vans and US based Startup Via.

The intelligent algorithm developed by Via makes it possible to combine trips to transport passengers with the same or similar destinations together without tedious detours and delays.

ViaVan is already operating in Amsterdam, London and Berlin, with other European cities set to follow. The BASF plant in Ludwigshafen is the first industrial site to introduce this system.

“The cooperation with BASF is a further milestone in our adVANce future initiative”, says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

“It supports the rapid development of new mobility solutions – in the reality of everyday operations and in close collaboration with our partners and customers.

“We are focusing initially on the optimisation of factory-site traffic – but that is just the start. With our solutions for shared and, in future, autonomous mobility, we will play a role in ensuring all BASF employees arrive at their destinations quickly, conveniently, safely and sustainably.”