New Verne robotaxi revealed: self-driving cars could come to UK by 2027

June 26, 2024 by

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Mate Rimac – Founder of Rimac Automobili – has turned his attention away from bonkers hypercars for a moment and has launched a self-driving robotaxi called the Verne.

  • New Verne robotaxi revealed
  • Driverless taxi which will revolutionise travel around cities
  • Uber-esque ride hailing app
  • Clever “Mothership” maintenance hubs
  • Spacious interior with 43-inch screen
  • UK rollout in 2027

This curious-looking thing is called the Verne. Named after the Author Jules Verne, it’s a self-driving robotaxi which is set to be deployed in the Croatian capital of Zagreb in 2026.

It’ll be a revolutionary way to get around in crowded cities, allowing passengers to summon a car from their phone before kicking their feet up for the journey and playing some Xbox.

What is the new Verne robotaxi?

You can think of the new Verne robotaxi as being like an Uber without the awkward small talk. You’ll be able to summon a car to your location using an app on your phone, and it’ll pick you up and drop you off to your destination with no driver in sight.

New Verne robotaxi side

To keep the fleet of robotaxis in tip-top condition, each city which operates them will have a “Mothership”. This sounds very Star Trek, but in reality it’s just a hub where the cars can be cleaned, maintained and charged.

New Verne robotaxi Mothership

And these Motherships will be extremely efficient in order to minimise downtime. Each car will be operating for 23.5 hours a day, with just half an hour being spent charging and cleaning. This will also mean you need fewer cars on the road because they’re always picking up passengers, reducing congestion.

How does the Verne robotaxi work?

There are many companies working on making self-driving cars at the moment, and getting a vehicle to operate in a congested city with no driver intervention is a tricky thing to do. Verne has partnered with a firm called Mobileye to develop its robotaxi.

New Verne robotaxi front

Mobileye’s technology utilises a suite of cameras, radar and lidar sensors to keep an eye on its surroundings. This differs to other systems out there because it has redundancies built in in case of an issue. For example, the camera system can drive on its own if the radar fails and vice-versa.

New Verne robotaxi rear

But how do you make sure these cars stay clean and fresh between passengers? After all, if someone bundles out of a nightclub with a kebab and stinks up the robotaxi that’s going to be pretty unpleasant for the next person. Well the interior actually has smell sensors which can pick up dodgy odours, so if said kebab reappears in the car it’ll go straight back to the Mothership to be cleaned.

New Verne robotaxi rear driving

And don’t think you’ll be able to get away with making a mess of the car either. You have to set up a profile on the app before you can ride, and there are cameras in the car which take a photo before you’re picked up and after you’re dropped off.

New Verne robotaxi interior

So what really makes this better than an Uber? It’s the interior. With no steering wheel or dashboard in the robotaxi you get cavernous cabin space with legroom to rival a Maybach. The seats can also recline for a more relaxing seating position.

New Verne robotaxi interior

You also get a massive 43-inch screen to keep you entertained with things like video streaming and Xbox games, and you can pre-condition the car from the app before you get in so the temperature is perfect.

New Verne robotaxi seats

The cabin materials have also been developed so they’re hard-wearing enough for daily abuse – these cars are expected to cover in excess of 62,000 miles a year – but while still being light and inviting. The sliding doors were developed so they don;t obstruct traffic as well.

New Verne robotaxi: when will they appear near me?

The new Verne robotaxi is due to roll out across the Croatian city of Zagreb in 2026, but a UK launch is expected in 2027. It won’t come straight to the bustling streets of London though, with tests likely to be carried out in smaller cities such as Birmingham and Manchester first.

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