VW Targets 2025 for Their Autonomous Microbuses to be Ready for The Road
A news article on newsmax.com states that Volkswagen AG plans to market a self-driving version of their "hippie-era" microbus. VW said that it's relaunching it minibus as an electric van with self-driving technology provided by Argo AI. VW is developing an ID.Buzz with Level 4 autonomy. Level 4 autonomy means the motor vehicle is capable of driving itself under specific conditions. VW expects the minibus to be ready for commercial transport of people and goods by 2025.
VW is currently testing the Argo AI's technology at six separate test site locations throughout the United States and will expand to a testing site in Munich to further refine the AI driving system. According to Christian Senger, the head of autonomous driving at VW's van unit, the development focus is on urban areas with dense populations that pose a high level of complexity for the AI technology and meets the travel demand.
VW and the Ford Motor Company are both backing Argo as the car manufacturers try to catch up to self-driving technology leaders like Waymo LLC. The project has proven to be very expensive and a challenge to bring the technology to market safely. General Motors' self-driving unit "Cruise" withdrew its plans to deploy its robotaxis by 2019. The company has yet to launch one vehicle. Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. both struck deals in the past few months to sell off their driverless divisions.
Waymo's driverless technology has begun offering rides in vans without human drivers late last year, but the service is limited to suburbs around Phoenix.
Ford Motor Company stated that it plans to launch driverless delivery pods and minibusses in several U.S. cities in 2022. Argo unveiled its own Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensors that they claim can 400 meters down the road in the dark. That is around 100 meters better than current state-of-the-art sensors. Argo is considering a public listing in 2021.
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