VW plans for autonomous driving
Volkswagen AG announced the foundation of Volkswagen Autonomy GmbH (VWAT GmbH) with headquarters in Munich and Wolfsburg.
As a centre for autonomous driving from level four, VWAT will serve to build up know-how within the group and bring a self-driving system (SDS) to market maturity. The company will be managed by Alexander Hitzinger, senior vice president for autonomous driving in the Volkswagen Group and member of the Volkswagen brand board of management responsible for technical development at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV).
Mobility solutions for people and goods in urban areas will be the first application case for the SDS from Volkswagen Autonomy GmbH. In July, the Volkswagen Group announced closer cooperation in the field of autonomous driving with Ford which, subject to official approvals, includes a stake in ARGO AI, a company specialised in the software development for autonomous driving. ARGO AI and VWAT will work closely together on the realisation of the SDS. In the development of the SDS VWAT will put a strong focus on systems engineering and industrialisation. The aim is to establish an SDS as a standard module for all Group brands in future.
"We want to establish Volkswagen Autonomy as a global technology company where we bundle expertise from the automotive and technology industries, combining the agility and creativity of a high-performance culture with process orientation and scalability," said Hitzinger. "We will continue to use synergies across all group brands to reduce the cost of self-driving vehicles, high-performance computers, and sensors. We plan to start commercialising autonomous driving at a large scale around the middle of the next decade."
The first application cases are planned in the commercial sector. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles as the leading brand for Autonomous Driving, MaaS, and TaaS in the Group will develop and build special purpose vehicles (SPV) such as robo taxis and robo vans. In a co-creation approach together with VWCV as a customer VWAT will develop the respective systems.