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NEW AUTO, Volkswagen Group focuses on autonomous driving

6.9.2021
NEW AUTO, Volkswagen Group focuses on autonomous driving

At IAA Mobility in Munich, CEO Herbert Diess sets the course: focus on autonomous driving, a field in which Volkswagen Group is at the forefront thanks to the close collaboration with Argo AI.

“We are in the midst of the transition toward e-mobility, and we are in a good position. Now we need to focus on two other decisive elements, the game changers for the future mobility: software and autonomous driving. For 2030 we see still about 85% of our business tied to cars – private cars, shared, rental cars – and a 15% should be shuttles, Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS)so Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group, at the NEW AUTO Night, an event that took place in Munich on the eve of IAA Mobility, dedicated to the next pillar of the Group’s strategy: autonomous driving.

Argo AI

The special guest for the event was Bryan Salesky, CEO of Argo AI, tech company which the Volkswagen Group collaborates on the development of the latest technologies in this field. A team of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning experts, both in the US and in Munich, is working on a Self Driving System able to predict and response in an optimal way to every traffic situation, with a special focus on the urban environment. The partnership is on the right track, the target is concrete: deploy an autonomous shuttle service in Hamburg in 2025.

Salesky explained the team’s approach: look for the highest possible complexity, without intermediate stages, in order to develop a system that has to be reliable, convenient and safe for everyone, to be brought on the city streets all around the world.

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Benchmark technology

More safety, less traffic, more efficiency: these are some of the benefits of autonomous driving. What can make the difference, according to Salesky, is having the most technologically advanced and far-reaching Lidar on the market, specifically tailored to full autonomous driving. Argo AI’s Lidar is able to see 400 metres and beyond, 360-degrees. It’s also able to detect the darkest of objects - those that reflect less than 1% of light.

“We have a clear idea: it’s not about getting the world’s largest data set, it’s about getting the world’s most complete data set to ‘feed’ the system“ explained the CEO of Argo AI. The technology platform that will be the basis for the Volkswagen Group’s self driving vehicles is extremely flexible and will allow to manage different, complementary services: from taking people from A to B, for  example in the form of MOIA’s ride pooling, to moving and delivering goods.

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ID. BUZZ AD

The ID. BUZZ AD has a great potential, as it was “born ready” for autonomous driving, integrating it as native function. “With the ID. BUZZ AD we are not adapting an already marketed vehicle to the new technology, we’re creating a self-driving vehicle right from the start” underlined Salesky.

This is precisely one of the strengths in the partnership with Argo AI: a very close collaboration and an open, transparent and constant exchange, step by step and since the very beginning, between a large volume automotive manufacturer like the Volkswagen Group, bearing a decisive know-how for what concerns mechanics, hardware and digital systems integrated onboard, and a cutting-edge tech company giving a fundamental contribution for the autonomous driving software and technology.

The objectives

When are we going to see the first autonomous vehicles on the roads? Of course, there are some factors to be considered: the safety issue, the government regulations and the local context. And, also to be taken into account, the technology will come city by city, which means that the technology will need to be adapted to the cities’ requirements.

The joint target for the Volkswagen Group and Argo AI is launching a driverless ride pooling service in Hamburg, in 2025. MOIA, the Volkswagen Group’s company already operating in the Hanseatic city with a fleet of all-electric e-Crafter, will be the partner for this project.

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Argo AI have been testing their autonomous driving vehicles in 6 cities in the US, with very different scenarios generating significant added value for the technological development, in terms of variety of data from the road infrastructure and driving behavior.

Furthermore, the ID. BUZZ AD is currently being tested on a test track adjacent to the Munich airport – a necessary stage to fine-tune the Self Driving System before the next, forthcoming, step: bring it on the public roads in the Munich area.

VGI | Responsible O.U.: VP | Creation date: article date | Class 9.1

 

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