There’s a clear race across the auto industry to lead (or at least not be too late) on autonomous driving. You’ve got Tesla’s well known and unique “Full Self Driving” effort, you’ve got Waymo and its growing list of automotive partners, you’ve got Nvidia and its own growing list of automotive partners (more on Nvidia coming later today), you’ve got GM’s Cruise arm, you’ve got several Chinese autonomy startups, and, lest anyone forget, you’ve got Volkswagen Group & Ford’s joint investment in Argo AI. Volkswagen invested $1 billion into the AI startup.
There is no groundbreaking news about any of them today, but Volkswagen has just announced that the ID. BUZZ will be Volkswagen Group’s first autonomous vehicle. Volkswagen envisions the ID. BUZZ being a midsized ride-hailing and ride-pooling vehicle that … (forgive me) … buzzes around the city and is constantly at your fingertip if you want to just jump into a vehicle and get taken somewhere. Volkswagen is already running such a program, MOIA, but an autonomous ID. BUZZ would bring it to another level.
The autonomous ID. BUZZ rollout is being planned by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and the target year is 2025. So, well, competitors still have time to lead the way on autonomous ride-hailing vehicles. And we should probably note that Waymo does currently offer such service in Metro Phoenix — the question is how hard it is for the company to expand and scale such service, and also, what’s needed to make the service profitable? We also recently saw the rollout of a similar AutoX program in Shenzhen, China. (A few other programs are in operation in China, too.)
Volkswagen’s Christian Senger, Head of Autonomous Driving, adds a bit more about the Volkswagen plans: “This year, for the first time, we are conducting field trials in Germany, in which the self- driving system by Argo AI will be used in a version of the future ID. BUZZ by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.”
That’s all the news for today on this. Like I said, nothing groundbreaking, but Volkswagen is putting down its marker and indicating that it needs 4 years to get autonomous ID. BUZZ vehicles into the smartphones of certain urbanites. We’ll keep you posted as more stepping stones pop up along the way.
- Tesla Autopilot — Updates On Path To 100% Full Self-Driving, + The Waymo Vs. Tesla Debate
- Comma.Ai Could Buy Automaker, Waymo Ditching “Self-Driving,” Xpeng Adds Lidar — Autonomous Driving Updates
- Robotaxis Can Now Collect Cash Money From Passengers In California
- Waymo Goes Truly Public In Phoenix
- 10 Robotaxi Services — Existing & Planned
- Mobileye’s Partnerships With BMW, Ford, NIO, Nissan, Volkswagen, & WILLER
- Waymo Has Partnerships With Fiat Chrysler, Jaguar, Nissan, Renault, Volvo, & Magna
- Nvidia’s Self-Driving Vehicle Approach — from Tesla to DHL to Mercedes
Featured image courtesy of Volkswagen