With development already underway, the first self-driving prototypes based on the future ID. BUZZ will commence operations in Munich this summer. It marks a milestone in the Group’s international collaboration, as part of which Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) is facilitating the development of Level 4-capable autonomous driving technology for self-driving vans. Light commercial vehicles are the first, logical place for utilizing 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”, explained divisional director Christian Senger during a digital press conference. “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 into the all-electric ID. BUZZ AD, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has founded a dedicated business section and partnered with Argo AI, the US- headquartered autonomous vehicle technology platform company that is developing the self-driving system.
Earlier this year, Argo 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 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 lidar sensor, Argo Lidar, which allows it to see objects from 400 meters away. Argo AI’s proprietary Geiger-mode lidar has the ability to 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 the 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 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 ridepooling 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 ridepooling service with an ID. Buzz”, said CEO Robert Henrich. MOIA is the largest sharing provider in Hamburg and currently employs 1,200 people.