VW Commercial Vehicles and Argo AI launch international trials of autonomous driving with ID. BUZZ
The first self-driving prototypes based on the future Volkswagen ID BUZZ production electric vehicle will begin testing in Munich, Germany, this summer. Volkswagen Group plans to implement Level 4-capable autonomous driving technology for self-driving vans. Light commercial vehicles are the first logical place for deploying autonomous transportation of people and goods.
"Our aim with the self-driving version of the ID. BUZZ is to facilitate commercial deployment of transport and delivery services starting in 2025," said Christian Senger, divisional director at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. "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."
To integrate the autonomous technology into the all-electric ID. BUZZ AD, the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand, founded a dedicated business unit and partnered with Argo AI, the U.S.-headquartered autonomous vehicle technology platform company developing the self-driving system. Argo AI integrated its self-driving system with a Volkswagen vehicle prototype to begin testing in Germany.
"We believe Argo AI has the largest urban self-driving testing footprint, with operations in six cities in the United States," said Bryan Salesky, Founder and CEO, Argo AI. "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 Commercial Vehicles and Argo AI use a combination of sensors – including lidar, radar and cameras – as essential for safe autonomous driving capability. Argo AI recently unveiled its new lidar sensor, Argo Lidar, which allows it to see objects from 400 meters (437 yards) 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 in the self-driving system of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles' autonomous driving vehicles", Salesky said.
There are also concrete plans for the commercial use of future technology for transport service providers. Volkswagen Group subsidiary MOIA will in 2025 become the first user of the self-driving ID. BUZZ AD. MOIA is the largest sharing provider in Hamburg, Germany, and currently employs 1.200 people.
"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," said MOIAS's managing director Robert Henrich. "We will 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."