Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) have announced the first self-driving prototypes based on the future ID. BUZZ will start operations in Munich this summer. This will be the first VW model that that offers self-driving.
The ID. BUZZ is Volkswagen’s new updated all-electric version of the original 1950 Type 2 camper and the non-self drive version will be available from 2022. The self-driving version is expected in 2025.
The upcoming testing operations mark a milestone in VW’s international collaborations. These have facilitated the development of Level 4-capable autonomous driving technology for self-driving vans.
Christian Senger, divisional director, said: “Our aim with the self-driving version of the ID. BUZZ is to facilitate commercial deployment of transport and delivery services starting in 2025.
“In select cities, customers will be able to have a self-driving vehicle take them to their destination. The delivery of goods and packages will also be made much easier through our autonomous driving service.”
For the integration of the technology, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has founded a dedicated business section. This has partnered with autonomous vehicle technology platform company Argo AI, who are based in the USA, and are developing the self-driving system. Earlier this year, Argo AI integrated its self-driving system into a prototype Volkswagen vehicle to begin testing in Germany.
Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO of Argo AI, said: “We believe Argo AI has the largest urban self-driving testing footprint, with operations in six cities in the United States.
“We are excited to begin testing our self-driving system on European roads later this year, building on the initial work we’re doing now at a new test track we established next to the Munich airport.”
Both Volkswagen and Argo AI regard the use of a combination of sensors, including lidar, radar and cameras, essential for safe autonomous driving capability. Argo AI recently unveiled its new Argo Lidar sensor which allows it to see objects up to 400 meters away.
Argo AI’s proprietary Geiger-mode lidar can detect the smallest particle of light, a single photon, which is key to sensing objects with low reflectivity. This technology will be integrated into the self-driving system of Volkswagen’s autonomous driving vehicles.
Volkswagen also has concrete plans for the commercial use of this future technology for transport service providers. Volkswagen Group subsidiary MOIA will become the first user of the self-driving ID. BUZZ AD in 2025.
Robert Henrich, MOIA CEO, said: “MOIA has extensive experience in the field of mobility services and fleet management. Within a very short time, we have set up Europe’s largest, all-electric ride-pooling service and provided mobility to millions of passengers.
“We bring this expertise to the cooperation with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Argo AI. Hamburg will be the first city to offer an autonomous ride-pooling service with an ID. Buzz.”