Volkswagen has unveiled a prototype for an autonomous version of its ID. Buzz electric minivan.
The vehicle was first unveiled in 2017 as a modernized all-electric update of the classic VW campervan.
The latest prototypes include a self-driving system developed by AI company Argo, which consists of an array of sensors (including cameras, radar, and lidar), software, and computer platforms to provide 360-degree awareness of the vehicle’s environment. offer. The system enables it to predict the actions of pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles and to control the engine, braking, and steering systems accordingly.
VW said that current models can detect objects at a distance of more than 400 meters and that the patented “Geiger-mode” technology is able to detect the smallest light particles (a single photon), so that even objects with low reflectivities, such as vehicles painted black and white, can be detected.
The vehicles will be tested on a nine-hectare closed track near Munich Airport to simulate various traffic situations unique to European driving conditions, among other tests taking place on a US track.
“The ID.Buzz AD test fleet represents a milestone in our partnership with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles,” said Bryan Salesky, founder, and CEO of Argo AI.
“Building on our five years of development and lessons learned from our operations in large, complex US cities, we are excited to begin testing on the streets of Munich shortly in preparation for the launch of the self-driving commercial ride-pooling service with MOIA. ”
Christian Senger, head of autonomous driving at VW, said: “An environment recognition system of six lidar, eleven radar, and fourteen cameras, spread throughout the vehicle, can capture much more than any human driver from his seat.”
From 2025, the self-driving vehicles will be used in Hamburg as part of the aforementioned ride-sharing service operated by the VW subsidiary MOIA.
The announcement comes on the heels of Google’s autonomous driving spin-off Waymo, which launched a limited driverless taxi service in San Francisco last month.
The UK government is currently working on legislation to allow a limited form of autonomous driving on UK roads.