Volkswagen Plots Route To Self-Driving Vehicles

Thu 13th May 2021

Drivers across Germany can expect to see self-driving vehicles by 2025 according to one of the world’s leading motoring brands.

Volkswagen Group announced this week that their ID Buzz ‘Microbus’ will be the first vehicle to feature Argo AI’s Level 4 self-driving system when it hits the streets in 2025.

Both Volkswagen and Ford completed a £2.1bn investment in Argo AI this year and have moved swiftly to employ the cutting edge technology in vehicles. The latest version of the AI uses a combination of lidar, radar and cameras to detect its surrounding environment in all conditions, making it an obvious solution for motor manufacturers. Rather than investing in billions to develop their own software, both Volkswagen and Ford have an off-the-shelf solution to put into practice.

“The three sensors complement each other, and [with them] combined, we're able to come up with a rich picture of all of the relevant objects around the car to help our algorithms make safe decisions,” said Argo AI founder Bryan Salesky.

The retro-styled ID Buzz will go on sale in 2022, and will actually feature Level 3 autonomy, but the more expensive Level 4 will be saved for commercial vehicles such as taxis and delivery services. It is expected that Volkswagen will launch the Level 4 in partnership with their ride-pooling service Moia in 2025, with Hamburg singled out as the first trial city.

“Our aim with the self-driving version of the ID Buzz is to facilitate commercial deployment of transport and delivery services starting in 2025. It is ambitious, but we're working towards developing a digital driver that's even safer than the human driver,” said Christian Senger, Head of Transportation at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

It’s expected that Volkswagen will quickly roll out the tech to other cities, including London, which trialled ride-pooling from Moia in 2019.