Volkswagen moves to production of self-driving ID.Buzz

Volkswagen moves to production of self-driving ID.Buzz

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Volkswagen is the first vehicle manufacturer to develop an autonomous Level 4 service vehicle for large-scale production, initially using technology from Mobileye in Israel.

The aim is to use the self-driving ID-Buzz AD in the commercial sector for robo-taxi and transport services in Europe and the US. 

The vehicle has been tested in Germany and the USA by Volkswagen ADMT (Autonomous Driving Mobility & Transport) over the last year. Mobileye will develop and supply software, hardware components and digital maps for the self-driving vehicle using its SuperVision and Chauffeur platforms. This will be supplied by Mobileye and has been under development for autonomous driving since 2021.

This self-driving system (SDS) module can be used from Level 2+ to Level 4 in other vehicles from Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche. 

In the long term, the Volkswagen Group says it aims to rely on its own complete in-house system. It has a partnerships with Bosch and Qualcomm, as well as with Horizon Robotics in China, and all the driver assistance systems are to be based on the software architectures developed by Volkswagen’s Cariad company.

The SDS module supports Level 4 operation where the autonomous vehicle operates self-driving in a defined area such as a city. The SDS has two independent high-performance computers for redundancy as well as 13 cameras, nine lidar and five radar units, and each system is capable of producing 360 degree surroundings.

A constant online connection provides the autonomous vehicles with swarm data from other road users about the traffic situation while updating the three-dimensional maps for safe, reliable, and efficient vehicle control.

“Bringing autonomous shuttles on the road in large quantities requires cooperation from strong partners,” says Christian Senger, member of the Board of Management at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, responsible for ADMT: “We are developing the first fully autonomous large-scale production vehicle, using Mobileye’s digital driver.”

The Volkswagen ADMT positions itself as provider of intelligent fleets and the required software technologies. This also includes intelligent fleet control: Volkswagen Group company MOIA brings its practical know-how into the development, operating Europe’s largest private ride pooling service in Hamburg since 2019 and transporting more than ten million passengers to date.

Another use case for self-driving vehicles is the transport of packages. The logistics market has grown significantly in recent years due to the increasing share of e-commerce. Delivery capacity is already one of the biggest challenges the industry is facing due to the driver shortage. Autonomous transport offers a possible solution to these shortages by ensuring long-term delivery capability and gives Volkswagen ADMT the chance to participate in the growing goods delivery market.

Volkswagen ADMT is working intensively on autonomous freight transport for various industries as a second important pillar alongside autonomous passenger transport. In the future, autonomous vehicles shall be able to drive to certain loading and unloading stations or to customer addresses independently. 

Autonomous vehicles for mobility and transportation services can help solve the ongoing driver shortage while robo-shuttles promote both the quality of life and the economic development of cities.  

Volkswagen is further clarifying the division of development tasks for driver assistance systems between in-house development and collaboration for its new E3 1.2 and E3 2.0 software architectures. This will streamline processes and reduce complexity. With strategic partners such as Mobileye, Volkswagen Group is accelerating the rapid delivery of the premium-oriented E3 1.2 architecture, while, in the long term, the Group will rely on its own complete in-house stack for automated driving across all brands.

For the future E3 2.0 architecture, the Volkswagen Group plans to consolidate its resources and development responsibilities within Cariad. Together with Bosch, Cariad aims to develop the Group’s proprietary complete system that will be integrated into the future all-electric, fully digital, and highly scalable mechatronics Group platform, the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP).


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