VW Aims To Win Self-Driving Race

Wed 30th Nov 2022

Volkswagen remain committed to autonomous vehicles, despite a major investment in the technology taking a wrong turn.

Argo, the US start-up may have hit a dead-end meaning the German car manufacturer's plans for autonomous driving have been significantly delayed, but no more than its competitors according to the company’s head of commercial vehicles. 

All manufacturers have been confronted with the enormity of implementing autonomous driving in the face of a backdrop of plummeting billions in electrification, a global epidemic, chip shortages, and global legislation issues regarding the technology.

However VW's autonomous cars will be accessible globally by the end of the decade, according to Thomas Schafer, whose CV division aims to be the first to do so. Even though Argo, the American self-driving startup that Volkswagen invested over $2.6 billion in in 2019, has recently announced it will cease operations. 

Speaking in an interview with Autocar, Schafer said: “The technology is available and we are driving in Hamburg and Munich autonomously. The cost of the car is still prohibitive because so little of it gets manufactured. And there’s always the need to prove that the system drives better than a human. The legislation for it is enormous. It’s totally different from country to country.

“You have to put focus on [autonomous driving] and that is why we are pushing so hard in the CV division, because once it happens it opens up profit pools and opportunities. I wouldn’t say winner takes it all but it’s a game that you need to be in early. You can not wait and then fast forward so that’s why we’re totally focusing on it.”