Volkswagen Group launches mobility unit MOIA, plans Uber rival

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The Volkswagen Group has formed a new unit tasked with the development of new mobility solutions. The unit is called MOIA, a name that's meant to signify independent mobility for all.

The VW Group rightfully sees the automotive landscape undergoing rapid change. Alongside the traditional business of manufacturing cars, new areas such as energy storage, self-driving technology and digitally networked mobility are seen as major growth areas. The latter is where MOIA will be focused.

“MOIA will help us gain a deeper understanding of new forms of mobility and how to make them even more attractive in future, to offer a much broader scope than at present and to tailor these services to suit very wide-ranging needs,” VW Group CEO Matthias Müller said in a statement. “Even though not everyone will still own a car in future, MOIA can help make everyone a customer of our company in some way or another.”

Ridesharing, carpooling and more

Two potential businesses have already been identified for MOIA to focus on. The first is an on-demand ridesharing app similar to Uber. The long-term goal is to have a large network of users and a fleet of self-driving cars that can run around and offer on-demand rides.

The second business is a carpooling app similar to Google’s Waze Carpool. But instead of just regular commuting, MOIA’s carpooling app could also be used for longer journeys such as traveling interstate or even to other countries.

MOIA is headquartered in Berlin and has a team of about 50 staff, with Ole Harms serving as CEO. Its first pilot projects are scheduled to begin in 2017.

 
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