According to a company statement, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is taking the lead to introduce autonomous driving technology within the group. It plans to begin testing in specific locations this year, intending to develop the tech for a rollout in 2025.
That will first take place in a road-going model of the ID. Buzz, using an electric passenger version for Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) such as robo-taxis and vans for ride-hailing purposes. Volkswagen will utilise technology from Argo AI, a company specialising in autonomous systems that Volkswagen has invested in and has a shareholding.
The CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Carsten Intra, said:
“With the confirmation of the group’s supervisory board for our Autonomous Driving R&D program, we are setting the course for the future of mobility. Autonomous, electric driving will make an important contribution to urban mobility and road safety. Our vehicles are the logical first choice to apply such systems to."
Ride-sharing and pooling plans for Volkswagen’s robo-taxi
The Head of Autonomous Driving, Christian Senger, said:
“This year, for the first time, we are conducting field trials in Germany, in which the self-driving system by Argo AI will be used in a version of the future ID. Buzz by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. The aim is to develop a ride-hailing and pooling concept similar to what MOIA offers today. In the middle of this decade, our customers will then have the opportunity to be taken to their destination in selected cities with autonomous vehicles.”
Volkswagen initially previewed the ID. Buzz as a concept car featuring an electric powertrain and a modern reinterpretation of the original camper van. The spacious and versatile interior lends itself well to a passenger version that could easily seat six or more people inside. Hinting at an autonomous future, that concept included an oval touchpad steering wheel that could enable automated driving with a single press.