If next to you on the streets Zagreb you see an unusual car, say a modified one Renault Espace without the Renault logo, but with the label “Autonomous driving – Rimac Automobili Research Vehicle”, and this is one of your test vehicles Mate Rimac for the project of autonomous vehicles, which are not driven by a driver.
Originally, these test vehicles were used for the development of Rimac’s “Driver’s coach” project, to teach the drivers of his expensive chase cars how to optimally use the sophisticated performance of their electric vehicles, but the years of testing for autonomous driving will, logically, probably serve well for the robot taxi project which in 45 percent of the expected costs are financed in the form of support by you, that is, the state, with the blessing of the European Commission.
The vehicle has eight cameras, six radars, 12 sensors, super-precise GPS… As RImac Automobili states in its announcement, it collects about 6 TB of data every hour on the road.
– The robotaxi project will be bigger than anything we have done – Rimac announced a few years ago, and it seems that his announcement is slowly coming true. But will robot taxis really rush through Zagreb by the end of 2024, as he had announced in 2021?
Company P3M (Project 3 Mobility LLC), founded by Mate Rimac, his strategy director at Rimac Automobili Marko Pejkovic and the chief designer also of Rimac Automobila Adriano Wiseis a beneficiary of the support and is developing a service based on a fully autonomous electric vehicle, i.e. a robotaxi.
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Yesterday, the European Commission approved 179 million euros of Croatian state aid for their development of the driverless taxi project.
According to the video officially published by Rimac Automobili back in 2018, the modified Renault has a driver who apparently only served as insurance in case something goes wrong, because in the video he is not holding the steering wheel, he is not driving it. To date, the project is probably quite advanced.
It seems as if the car is already driving, that is, the steering wheel turns completely autonomously, without the help of the driver. In the passenger seat is another Rimac man with a computer. And Renault quite successfully cruises past Zagrepčanka, and later near the Faculty of Law…
Rimac: If we fail, we will return the money
The ‘timeline’ for the ‘launch’ of the robot taxi on the website of the P3M company says that the vehicles should be on the streets of Zagreb by the end of 2024, in Great Britain by the end of 2025, as well as in Germany…
On their website, they also presented an application that controls the vehicle with the help of a mobile phone so that the user sets the goal, music, air temperature… Practically, he sets everything and just sits down, and the robot taxi drives him.
– I expect the rollout in 2024, that these cars will drive around the city, and we will have the infrastructure by then – said Rimac in July 2021, when the President of the European Commission visited the “Rimac Cars” plants Ursula von der Leyen and the prime minister Andrej Plenković.
– I don’t have a guarantee, if we get the money and don’t do it according to the rules – we will return it. These will be totally autonomous cars. We did not convince anyone, but they came to us. We have the capacity to attract hundreds of millions of euros of investment. They came to us, asked for a project and we had it. Our investors will invest millions, only part of it will come from EU funds – said Rimac.
And that’s right, if this 179 million euros is 45 percent, then Rimac collected even more than that with investors. If the project proves to be successful and makes a profit, the beneficiary will return part of the aid received to the state.