Rimac is best known for its Nevera electric hypercar, but the Croatian company offers a much more diverse range of products and services that's about to expand with a robotaxi service.
Citing comments from Rimac CEO and founder Mate Rimac, Autocar reported on Tuesday that Rimac plans to launch a robotaxi service by 2026, and that the robotaxi design will be revealed as soon as early this year.
Code-named Project 3 Mobility, Rimac's robotaxi service is being developed with some backing from Kia, which has a small stake in privately owned Rimac together with Hyundai. Kia has also previously worked with Rimac on self-driving technology, and several Kia Stinger GTs a few years back were fitted with self-driving systems for an electronic driving coach Rimac is developing.
According to Autocar, Rimac's robotaxi will be designed for urban environments and will rely on supporting infrastructure that is also being developed by Rimac, including chargers and storage facilities.
Rimac first announced plans for Project 3 Mobility in 2021, while seeking a piece of taxpayer funds being handed out by the European Union during the pandemic. At the time, Rimac said the robotaxi service had already been in development for several years, and that Rimac was in negotiations with 20 cities in Europe and the Middle East to launch the service.
Croatia's capital, Zagreb, where Rimac's headquarters is located, is expected to be the first city where the service is launched. Production of the robotaxis, or many of their components, may also take place in Croatia.
Developing a safe and reliable robotaxi service is proving to be a huge challenge. A number of promising companies in the segment have backed out of the race, such as Argo AI and Uber, though others have managed to get commercial services up and running. Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo has been running a service in Phoenix, Arizona, for several years and plans to expand it to other U.S. cities. General Motors-backed Cruise also had a service running in San Francisco until late last year, when it was forced to stop the service after California's DMV determined the company's robotaxis to be unsafe for public operation. Cruise hasn't said when its service will begin operating again.