VW to begin autonomous van trials this summer

VW ID Buzz

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will begin testing the first self-driving prototypes of its new ID Buzz vehicle in Germany this summer.

The trials will take place at a new dedicated test facility next to Munch Airport. It is expected that the vehicles will be ready for commercial use in 2025.

VW says the vehicles will have level 4 autonomous driving capability, which means a driver will still be required but their input will be minimal. The vehicles should be able to respond to and navigate around incidents on its own.

For the integration of self-driving technology into the all-electric ID Buzz, VW 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.

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 400m away. Its 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 VW’s self-driving system.

Volkswagen Group subsidiary MOIA will, in 2025, become the first user of the self-driving ID Buzz. The vehicles will be deployed in Hamburg initially, providing an all-electric ride-pooling service.

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