On-demand ride-sharing. Mercedes-Benz and Via set up ViaVan, a needs-based mobility service, in Europe

Mercedes-Benz Vans is forging new paths in the field of goods transport as well as passenger movement. In 2017, Daimler founded a joint venture together with the New York-based start-up Via: ViaVan.

The Via vision: Dynamic routes, virtual bus stops

Their goal: ViaVan aims to establish on-demand ride-sharing in Europe. Urban areas in particular, are crying out for new offerings and solutions for simpler, affordable and more sustainable mobility to supplement local public transport. We can help to make this more flexible across wide areas and over the so-called last mile, encouraging more and more people to leave their cars at home.

Via has developed a dynamic mass transport system to supplement public transport and reduce traffic in cities. Technology from Via and engineering by Mercedes-Benz Vans combine perfectly to produce an efficient, low-cost and sustainable ride-share service based on an easy-to-use app and virtual stopping points for pooling rides in the city. The offer from ViaVan: dynamic routes, virtual stopping points.

ViaVan is changing the way people move around the city – away from a regulated system with fixed routes and timetables to a dynamic network. In this system, passengers who want to go in the same direction will be assigned to a van in real time. Passengers request their ride-share via a mobile app, and the sophisticated Via algorithm instantly finds a vehicle best suited to the respective destination and calculates quick and efficient ride-share routes without detours. As vans are dynamically routed between thousands of virtual stopping points across the entire city, this is an approach that benefits public transport services by reducing traffic in urban areas without the need to build cost-intensive infrastructure.

The cooperation is another milestone in the adVANce strategy for the future, with its focus on the evolution from vehicle manufacturer to provider of integrated mobility solutions featuring vans.

ViaVan

Long-term strategic partnership

Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via have been successfully cooperating since 2015. The ViaVan joint venture operates as an independent unit and has been running in Amsterdam. As well as Amsterdam, the on-demand ride-sharing service is now also operating in London, Berlin and Milton Keynes.

The joint venture will also be collaborating on the development of intelligent mobility, which will include the optimisation of vans bearing the three-pointed star for use in the ride-sharing scheme. The company uses mainly the Vito and eVito Tourer (up to nine seats) and the V Class (up to eight seats), which are being continuously adapted to this particular purpose. Alongside the development of advanced software and sensors, the long-term strategic partnership is also focussing on the area of autonomous driving.

ViaVan in Berlin

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