US-Israeli ridesharing service Via will open a tech innovation center in Jerusalem, Globes reported this week. The new center is expected to open in early 2020, according to the Israeli daily.
The company will hire 50 engineers for the new center over the coming year. The engineers will lead Via’s smart transportation projects in Israel and abroad. They will also work closely with the company’s Tel Aviv R&D center, which currently has 250 engineers.
Founded in 2012 by Israeli entrepreneurs Daniel Ramot and Oren Shoval, Via developed an algorithm that matches multiple passengers traveling in the same direction with a single large SUV or van, in real-time. The vehicle picks up the passengers at a pre-arranged collection point – a so-called virtual bus stop – set according to traffic conditions and demand.
Users can track arrival time at the collection point and the destination through the app, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to map out the most efficient routes. Sometimes users must walk a short distance from their point of origin or destination due to an algorithm developed by the company to ensure minimal delays.
Meanwhile, Bubble, the Tel Aviv ridesharing service developed by Via in partnership with Dan bus company reached a “milestone of 4,500 daily passengers,” according to data released this month by an external research company, CTech by Calcalist reports.
The milestone came after Bubble added 600 additional vehicles in the past eight weeks.
Bubble users use Via’s concept, to book rides through a dedicated app, by adding their pick-up and drop-off locations. The app then comes up with the most efficient route for each driver.