It will help the company speed up the development of new features for autonomous cars.
In February this year, Volkswagen revealed that its first fully autonomous vehicle would be the charming ID.Buzz electric van. Its retro-inspired design aside, it's the van's ability to drive itself that will make it another landmark product for the brand alongside the ID.4 EV. While fully autonomous, Level 5 production vehicles are still some way off - Honda revealed the first Level 3 autonomous car earlier this year - several manufacturers are still working hard to make this a reality. VW's latest bold move is that it intends to design its own high-powered chips for autonomous vehicles, something that could give it an edge in the fully autonomous race.
The company's CEO, Herbert Diess, made this much clear when he spoke to a German publication called Handelsblatt, as reported by Automotive News Europe.
"To achieve optimal performance in light of the high demands that exist for cars, software and hardware have to come out of one hand," said Diess. While VW does not intend to build semiconductors, it did want its own patents. It's yet another case of VW chasing Tesla; since Teslas can utilize custom-designed chips, this gives Elon Musk's team the ability to develop new features at a more rapid rate. VW would like to close this gap.
"Apple and Tesla have higher competence in terms of how semiconductors are defined," continued Diess. With Elon Musk's propensity for spewing out ambitious launch dates for the latest self-driving technologies, there's no knowing for sure which company will get there first. However, VW does seem well on track to launch self-driving cars by the year 2025, with automated versions of the ID.Buzz already scheduled for testing this year. Initially, these vehicles will be used for activities like ride-sharing so it could still be some time before you can walk into a showroom and buy a fully autonomous vehicle for yourself.