Volkswagen is due to kick start trials of its first self-driving prototypes in Munich this summer.
The prototypes, based on the future ID.Buzz electric, will use technology developed by autonomous tech firm Argo AI, following Volkswagen and Ford’s recent investment in the company.
The system uses a combination of lidar sensors, radar and cameras to detect the area around the vehicle, effectively ‘seeing’ objects that are up to 400 metres away. The technology has the ability to detect the smallest particle of light, which Volkswagen says is ‘key to sensing objects with low reflectivity’.
Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO of Argo AI, said: “We believe Argo AI has the largest urban self-driving testing footprint, with operations in six cities in the United States.”
“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.”
The trials look to develop Level 4-capable autonomous vehicle technology for use in self-driving vans. Here, it would help to streamline the transportation of both people and goods. Level 4 technology wouldn’t require the vehicle to have a driver nor a steering wheel, either.
“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.
“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.”