Rimac Verne Robotaxi: prices, availability, specs

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Rimac’s Verne: A Bold Bet on Autonomous Ride-Hailing

Mate Rimac, the Croatian entrepreneur who built a global electric vehicle empire from seemingly thin air, is taking on his “next impossible thing”: autonomous ride-hailing with his new company, Verne. This ambitious project, named after the famed futurist Jules Verne, aims to disrupt the transportation landscape, challenging established players like Tesla and Waymo with a novel approach to autonomous mobility.

Rimac’s journey is nothing short of remarkable. From founding an electric hypercar company in Croatia, a nation with no automotive heritage, to securing investments from giants like Porsche, Hyundai, and SoftBank, he has proven his ability to defy expectations. His Rimac Technology has become a powerhouse, supplying electric drivetrains to renowned brands like Porsche, BMW, and Aston Martin, while pioneering advanced energy storage technologies.

With Verne, Rimac is venturing into uncharted territory, aiming to launch a robotaxi service in Zagreb, the Croatian capital, by 2026, followed by Manchester, UK. Expanding ambitions envision Verne operating in nine more European and Middle Eastern cities and potentially 30 global cities, ultimately creating a global network of autonomous ride-hailing.

The Verne service is more than just self-driving cars. It promises a fully integrated ecosystem:

  • App-based booking: Passengers will hail rides through a dedicated app, seamlessly navigating the service and managing their journeys.
  • Purpose-built robotaxis: Verne has developed its own sleek robotaxi designed for optimal passenger experience. With twin sliding doors and a two-seat cabin, it prioritizes comfort and convenience.
  • “Mothership” buildings: These centralized hubs will serve as operational centers, providing charging and cleaning facilities for the Verne fleet, ensuring their uptime and maintaining vehicle standards.

This comprehensive approach differentiates Verne from its competitors, particularly in its commitment to technology ownership. Unlike many ride-hailing companies relying on licensed autonomy software, Verne has developed its own proprietary self-driving technology, ensuring greater control over its operations and future growth.

"We are building Verne to be the future of mobility," says Marko Pejković, Verne’s CEO. "We believe that autonomous ride-hailing has the potential to transform cities, making them more efficient, sustainable, and accessible."

However, the path to successful autonomous ride-hailing is fraught with challenges. Regulations, public perception, and the intricate complexities of real-world driving environments pose significant hurdles.

Despite these complexities, Rimac views Verne as a strategically sound venture. His company, with a 55% stake in Verne, has partnered with Saudi investors to secure funding and drive its expansion. The presence of Adriano Mudri, the designer of the Rimac Nevera hypercar, as Verne’s Chief Design Officer further emphasizes the company’s commitment to innovation and meticulous attention to detail.

Verne’s ambition to be a leading player in the rapidly evolving autonomous ride-hailing space is audacious, but not without merit. Here’s why:

  • Rimac’s proven track record: The success of the Rimac Group, particularly its electric drivetrain technology, showcases its ability to develop cutting-edge solutions and execute ambitious projects.
  • Strong partnerships: Rimac has established collaborations with key players in the automotive industry.
  • Focus on technology ownership: By developing its own autonomous driving technology, Verne has greater control and flexibility over its future.
  • Ecosystem approach: Building a comprehensive system with apps, specialized vehicles, and dedicated infrastructure allows for a more efficient and seamless service.

While Tesla’s entrance into the robotaxi market in August 2023 poses significant competition, Verne’s unique position and proactive approach could give it an advantage. By focusing on early partnerships, creating an integrated ecosystem, and prioritizing user experience, Verne may carve a distinct niche in the market.

The ultimate success of Verne will depend on its ability to overcome crucial hurdles:

  • Rapidly advancing regulations: The legal and regulatory landscape surrounding autonomous vehicles is constantly evolving, requiring Verne to stay ahead of the curve and adapt its technology and operations.
  • Public acceptance: Winning over public trust in autonomous vehicles is paramount. Verne needs to address concerns regarding safety, security, and accessibility to ensure widespread adoption.
  • Technological advancements: Continuously refining its autonomous driving technology, improving perception capabilities, and overcoming edge cases are critical for maintaining a competitive edge.

"Rimac’s Verne is a bold bet on the future of mobility," says Dr. Markus Lienkamp, Director of the Institute for Automotive Engineering at the Technical University of Munich. "It’s a testament to their commitment to innovation and their ability to think outside the box. But navigating the complexities of this space will require a laser focus on technology, regulations, and public perception."

Ultimately, Verne’s success hinges on its ability to navigate the intricate landscape of autonomous ride-hailing. If it can overcome hurdles and capitalize on its unique strengths, Verne could become a game changer, shaping the future of mobility and proving that even the “impossible” can be achieved.

Article Reference

Sarah Mitchell
Sarah Mitchell
Sarah Mitchell is a versatile journalist with expertise in various fields including science, business, design, and politics. Her comprehensive approach and ability to connect diverse topics make her articles insightful and thought-provoking.