You'll soon able to "buzz" around without ever touching the wheel.
It's only been a few days since we got our first look at the VW ID.Buzz electric van. Now, the German automaker is upping the ante on the Buzz, exploring self-driving options for the hotly anticipated EV. That is, supposing VW's recent supply issues don't get in the way. Regardless, testing for the ID. Buzz's self-driving systems will start on American roads in 2023.
VW says it plans to use Argo self-driving software to develop self-driving software for the ID.Buzz, which the brand has been using since 2021 in Germany. However, the finalized system won't initially be for consumers. Instead, the carmaker plans on using the technology to create an automated taxi and ridesharing service. Remember how Elon said your Telsa could do Uber for you? Volkswagen is going to do just that.
Despite VW's testing on American roads, the service will debut in 2025 in Hamburg if all goes to plan. Perhaps VW is doing testing in America to plan for future American rollouts of the autonomous software in the States. As of right now, Argo's AI self-driving tech is currently only a Level 4 system. Generally, it's widely accepted that Level 5 autonomous software constitutes a true self-driving car. Think: Blade Runner, Westworld, or iRobot.
The Level 4 system VW is currently developing requires extremely little driver oversite, unlike the systems we see in cars already on the road. However, a driver will still be able to take control of the vehicle via traditional controls.
For now, that means VW will still need someone in the driver's seat of those nearly-autonomous taxis and rideshare cars. Turns out you'll still need to be in your car while it does Uber for you.
But Volkswagen isn't the only one pushing for Level 4 autonomous systems the world over. Brands like Ford, Tesla, and GM are also in the race with software like FSD and BlueCruise. Begun, the autonomous driving wars have. As for Volkswagen, we'll have to wait a while longer still to see what an autonomous VW product on American roads looks like.