So, get this – Rimac, the hypercar folks, are diving into the world of autonomous shuttles. Yeah, the ones without a driver. Apparently, Mate Rimac, the CEO, has been quietly cooking up this plan for a while now. The word is, this move is not just about futuristic vehicles; it’s about changing the way we all navigate through cities.
Behind the Scenes: More than Five Years of Secret Schemes
Rumors started swirling in the summer of 2021 when a Croatian media outlet stumbled upon a filing with the Croatian Ministry of Transport. It spilled the beans about Rimac’s “urban mobility ecosystem” using electric autonomous vehicles. The backstory reveals that Rimac has been tinkering with this idea since 2018, putting in more than five years of behind-the-scenes effort. And guess what? They’ve been using a Renault Espace minivan as one of their hush-hush prototypes.
When Mate Rimac spilled the beans during a TechCrunch seminar, he explained the secrecy game. “There’s so much hot air in this industry, and so many PowerPoint companies, you know, announcing big things and not delivering and so on. We didn’t want to be that company, we wanted to do a lot of stuff — and like under-promise, over-deliver.”
Looking Beyond Autonomous Driving: The Ecosystem Approach
Rimac isn’t just about self-driving cars; they’re painting a broader picture. According to Rimac, the focus shouldn’t only be on the autonomous driving system itself. They’re cooking up a full-fledged ecosystem called Project 3 Mobility. It’s not just cars; it involves “chargers, storage hubs, and parking spaces.” Basically, they’re eyeing the entire shebang.
And here’s a twist – Kia is onboard with this robotaxi project. Linked through Hyundai’s investments in Rimac, Kia is backing the idea. They’re planning to showcase Purpose-Built Vehicles (PBVs) at the Consumer Electronics Show, each serving a specific purpose. Imagine a small shuttle for “robo-delivery” and a mid-sized PBV for a robotaxi. Kia’s gearing up to hit the streets with these by late 2025, not long before Rimac’s grand entry into the Croatian scene. Now, that’s what you call shaking up the mobility game!