With double wishbone suspension, a premium interior, and a cabin that attenuated the din of the CES2023 crowd, HOLON’s autonomous electric shuttle promises a comfortable ride for up to 15 passengers through city streets. The HOLON mover is purpose-built to move people in fixed geographic areas with speeds limited to 37 MPH (60 km/h). As Dr. Alain Kornhauser observes in the above interview, it is the type of vehicle that is ideal for TrentonMOVES and other similar community-specific on-demand transportation networks.
Gregory Crandell, General Manager of HOLON, suggests that speakers at Kornhauser’s SmartDrivingCars Summit inspired the inclusive design of the vehicle. For instance, the air suspension allows the vehicle to lower itself closer to the ground, while a ramp automatically extends for the boarding of wheelchairs, which are automatically secured once inside. For the visually impaired, information is in Braille and there is an audiovisual guide. Additionally, there are multiple screens in the cabin to help guide passengers on their respective journeys.
Almost 150 Years as an Automotive Industry Supplier #
What separates HOLON from other autonomous electric shuttles is its pedigree as part of an established provider to the automobile industry. HOLON is the new brand from BENTELER Group. Founded in 1876 and with more than 25,000 worldwide employees, the BENTELER Group supplies chassis, module systems, automotive glass, and, with HOLON, the complete electric vehicle.
The flexible underlying architecture will allow HOLON to introduce variants, whether for passenger or cargo transport, relatively easily. Pininfarina (design), Mobileye, and IT specialist Cognizant Mobility are supporting HOLON on its autonomous mobility journey. Crandell suggests late 2025 for these units to be in volume production.
From a service provider perspective, there is at least one provider that is looking forward to receiving these people moving vehicles. This press release indicates that Florida-based BEEP will be responsible for implementing the first vehicles in the United States.
Interview Highlights #
- 00:21 – Gregory Crandell provides an overview of the vehicle
- 01:28 – Dr. Alain Kornhauser comments on how it could fit with TrentonMOVES
- 02:50 – The vehicle can be set up for fixed route or on-demand transport
- 04:02 – It is a right-sized vehicle that could supplement existing transit systems
- 06:44 – This is an automotive-grade vehicle
- 07:00 – Crandell indicates their focus is on the Total Cost of Ownership. Kornhauser suggests with high utilization, the capital costs of the vehicle will be de minimis.
- 08:57 – Build for inclusiveness was a takeaway from the SmartDrivingCars Summit. This also means increased comfort.
- 11:38 – Late 2025 for volume production
- 12:17 – Like TrentonMOVES, Crandell expects attendants in the car in the initial deployments. These attendants will be more about customer education and comfort, as opposed to driving.
- 13:07 – Unfortunately, our “ride” ended. The conversation will have to carry on at another time.