We've heard similar claims in the past, but Volkswagen is well aware of the challenges it faces.
The idea of self-driving cars has been around for nearly as long as the car itself, and we're finally on the cusp of delivering truly self-driving, fully autonomous vehicles, according to VW, whose CEO claims the tech will be mainstream by 2030.
On local soil, people have shown that they're not entirely ready for autonomous cars. And the tech and legislation aren't ready yet either. Companies like Tesla have boasted about self-driving cars for a while now, but no one has pulled it off entirely.
Now Volkswagen Passenger Cars CEO Thomas Schafer claims that his company will bring self-driving vehicles into the mainstream by 2030. This comes as the company is driving a big offensive on the EV front, with important models such as the VW Golf going all-electric in the near future.
Schafer's comments come after the US-based self-driving start-up Argo, Which VW invested billions into, announced that it was shutting down. VW seems to have taken the news on the chin and said that it was "consolidating its development partnerships" and added that "our goal is to offer our customers the most powerful functions at the earliest possible time and to set up our development as cost-effectively as possible."
VW will spearhead its self-driving mission with the help of Cariad in China, while Bosh will drive its global autonomous crusade. VW, along with most other manufacturers, has faced continuing setbacks in the race for autonomous driving, including a global chip shortage, logistical issues, legal setbacks, and the fact that electrification is drawing massive amounts of resources away from other projects.
Schafer added that specific issues hold VW back: "It's not as trivial as it seems. It's the legislation, the camera systems, the chips, the energy consumption, and the speed of calculation. The car will be the biggest data collection device there is. It's really complex."
Schafer continued to talk about the red tape constraining development: "The technology is available, and we are driving in Hamburg and Munich autonomously. The cost of the car is still prohibitive because so little of it gets manufactured. And there's always the need to prove that the system drives better than a human. The legislation for it is enormous. It's totally different from country to country."
Volkswagen is currently aiming to offer a self-driving ID. Buzz to its customers through a self-hailing service in Hamburg in 2025, presumably using former Argo employees to help reach that goal.