The Volkswagen ID Buzz electric MPV has been in the making for some time, and now, at the 2021 Munich Motor Show, Volkswagen has unveiled a prototype autonomous version of the MPV. Dubbed the Volkswagen ID Buzz AD, where AD stands for the autonomous driving, it features cameras, lidar and radar sensors to enable autonomous technology that has been developed by US start-up Argo.
- Fully autonomous ID Buzz AD to go on sale overseas in 2025
- AI technology developed by US start-up Argo
- Standard VW ID Buzz electric MPV to go on sale next year
Volkswagen ID Buzz AD: what is it?
The ID Buzz, which features a retro design that evokes the original T2 Transporter, is set to launch next year in both passenger and commercial vehicle forms. These new ID Buzz AD prototypes come fitted with Argo AI technology and have even been testing in a number of urban environments including Munich, where Argo's European arm is based.
The Buzz was chosen as the launch vehicle because its size allows it to be readily adapted for use as an autonomous ride-hailing vehicle, or a cargo-carrying van. The Argo software uses data from the cameras, radar and lidar systems – including a roof-mounted proprietary Argo Lidar sensor – to create a 360-degree map of the vehicle's surroundings. Argo claims its software can detect objects over 400 metres away, and can also predict the actions of pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles, adapting the controls as required.
The fully autonomous testing of the vehicle takes place at the Argo AI development centre near Munich, where the firm has a closed course that allows for testing a variety of conditions. Argo also has a test track in the USA. VW Group is planning for its Moia ride sharing subsidiary to be the first firm to run the ID Buzz AD from 2025 onwards, with initial operations in Hamburg.
Volkswagen in India
Back in India, Volkswagen is far away from its electrification or autonomous driving plans. Instead, the company is focusing on growing its presence in the country, which will be kick started by the launch of the Volkswagen Taigun on September 23; the first VW model to be based on the heavily localised MPQB-A0-IN platform. Following that, there will be an all-new sedan replacing the ageing Vento based on the same platform in 2022.
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