An aggressive strategy is about to begin.
The Volkswagen Group not only aims to be an electric vehicle powerhouse but also a leader in autonomous driving technologies. Convincing car buyers to switch from combustion-engined vehicles to pure batteries electrics is already hard enough, but the German automaker wants to also convince them that those EVs will one day be able to safely drive themselves. When will that day come?
Germany's Automobilwoche reports that VW Group CEO Herbert Diess has an autonomous vehicle rollout goal by the end of the decade. "We expect by 2030 that we will see fleet operations and also private cars that drive autonomously in places," he said.
"There will be setbacks, but that's still eight or nine years. It can also be a little earlier, it can also be a little later. There are huge development resources flowing into it, worldwide." Installing self-driving hardware and software into a new Porsche Taycan or VW ID.4 isn't especially difficult; testing aims to get underway next year.
The big concern Diess and many others have is safety. Tesla, for example, recently rolled out its Full Self-Driving V9 platform to customers. But not everyone - including safety regulators - are convinced it's safe. Time will tell. Another critical area that requires solutions is data security.
In Europe, Diess notes, "data initially belongs to our customers," but that's not the case in other markets, like China. "In China, data is considered a common good that is available to the common good. In America, data is predominantly seen as an economic good, is not public, but remains with companies, with Google, with Apple, in order to serve the business model there. And in Europe we have a very strong focus on the data sovereignty of the user."
It's not easy to offer a so-called one size fits all self-driving software security system because different countries view data differently. Don't expect these country's outlooks to change by 2030, so VW must come up with innovative and creative solutions.