Volkswagen is about to let its autonomous driving ID.Buzz AD out of the garage and onto public roads. The German automaker’s self-driving electric van has completed preliminary testing and is prepped for real-world trials.
ID.Buzz AD is designed to showcase its control capabilities and will carry decision-makers from various sectors, including politics, public services, and commerce, as well as members of the media. This is a fantastic opportunity for the public to witness the vehicle’s cutting-edge technology in action.
The iconic VW bus going autonomous is the latest milestone in the company’s push into new mobility services. Volkswagen has been aggressively developing robo-taxi technology to expand its business beyond traditional car sales.
“We are taking the next big step towards the commercialization of autonomous driving,” said Christian Senger, Head of Autonomous Driving at VW. “This will help us to develop viable transportation services for cities and diverse mobility ecosystems.”
Volkswagen’s autonomous test program launched in Germany and expanded to Austin, Texas. The urban setting offers complex driving scenarios to test and improve the self-driving system. VW aims to gather data and optimize its technology for planned robotaxi services in Germany and North America.
The ID.Buzz AD prototype runs AI software developed in-house after VW’s partnership with Argo AI collapsed. VW now collaborates with Intel-owned Mobileye on lidar, radar, cameras and software for autonomous functionality up to SAE Level 4.
All autonomous driving models are equipped with camera, radar, and lidar technology, in accordance with SAE standards. During the testing phase, all vehicles will have a human safety driver and will be capable of accommodating up to four passengers. Once ready for series production, they can be mass-produced to meet the growing demand for mobility and transportation.
Production of the long-awaited ID.Buzz AD for the US starts in 2024. The electric minivan will be VW’s flagship mobility pod for future autonomous ride-sharing and delivery services. VW targets the launch of robotaxi services in several US cities by 2025, with fully driverless vehicles in action by 2026.
Volkswagen’s iconic bus going autonomous represents a radical transformation of the brand. As demand for ride-hailing and last-mile delivery explodes, VW aims to evolve from traditional manufacturer to leading provider of next-gen mobility services. Driverless ID.Buzz AD vans cruising cities could make that vision a reality.