Volkswagen, the renowned German automaker, is steering towards an autonomous future in Texas, aiming to launch self-driving vehicles for services such as ride-hailing and goods delivery by 2026. The company, which once made a substantial investment in Ford’s now-defunct self-driving car unit, Argo, is setting a new course with supplier Mobileye.
The plan for this year involves testing 10 ID Buzz electric vehicles, equipped with Mobileye’s autonomous driving platform, in specific areas of Austin, including downtown. These tests will feature safety drivers on board. When Volkswagen took over Argo, it also acquired about 100 of its employees and its hub in Austin, a known testing ground for autonomous vehicles.
Volkswagen reportedly plans to capitalize on Mobileye’s supply base and map data, aiming for cost-effective mass production.
Christian Senger, a Volkswagen board member in charge of autonomous driving development, underscored the ultimate goal: “The big aim is that we bring fully autonomous vehicles to the market as a commercial, scalable product.”
In venturing into Austin’s testing grounds, Volkswagen joins other major players like GM’s Cruise and Alphabet’s Waymo. These companies, along with Tesla, have invested billions into the autonomous technology, hoping to enhance road safety.
Despite initial hurdles and missed targets, Volkswagen, like its peers, remains committed to navigating the road to autonomous driving.
Photo courtesy of Automotive World Magazine.