Volkswagen Begins Autonomous Driving Tests With Passengers

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is taking autonomous driving to the next level by embarking on its ground breaking tests with passengers on board.

The streets of Munich are now home to a fleet of self-driving prototypes, based on the iconic Volkswagen ID.Buzz, shuttling decision-makers from politics, public authorities, and businesses, making their commutes smarter and more efficient.

But that’s not all – Volkswagen has simultaneously launched an ambitious test program in Austin, Texas, with the goal of expanding the availability of commercial transport services and bolstering the diverse mobility portfolio of the entire Volkswagen Group. This initiative takes center stage in urban centers across Europe and North America, revolutionizing ride-sharing schemes and transport services with autonomous capabilities.

Christian Senger, the visionary member of the board of management overseeing the development of autonomous driving at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, couldn’t hide his excitement as he shared,

“Expanding our autonomous vehicle program to North America marks an important milestone in our global strategic roadmap. It represents our unwavering commitment and substantial investment in perfecting the technology on American roads.”

The pure electric ID.Buzz vehicles are equipped with Mobileye’s cutting-edge self-driving system, placing them firmly in the category of level 4 autonomous vehicles according to the SAE standard. Throughout the trial period, these vehicles, which comfortably accommodate up to four passengers, are accompanied by human drivers who closely monitor the autonomous operations. This supervisory role ensures the safe collection of valuable data on miles driven, encompassing a wide array of traffic scenarios, and enabling a comprehensive study of the technology’s performance.

While autonomous vehicle services will be spearheaded by the Volkswagen Group subsidiary MOIA in Germany, the approach differs in the United States. Volkswagen, true to its collaborative spirit, has opted to partner with external companies from the mobility and transport sector, ensuring that autonomous driving services in the US are powered by a collective effort.