Sunday, September 5th, 2021
Series operation from 2025?
VW shows autonomous “Bulli” prototypes
Volkswagen and its US partner Argo AI have been researching autonomously driving vehicles for some time. Just in time for the IAA auto show, the car manufacturer completes its fully electric “Bulli”. The new technology is now to be tested on the streets of Munich.
Before the start of the fully electric VW ID.Buzz bus next year, Volkswagen completed an autonomously driving prototype version of the vehicle for the IAA auto show. Initially, the technology will be tested with five such vehicles before series production should be possible from 2025. This announced Europe’s largest car company in Munich. Self-driving “Bullis” are to be used, for example, for robot taxi services.
VW and its US partner Argo AI are now testing the technology in Munich, especially on trips to the airport. The Moia shuttle service – currently geared towards Hamburg in particular – is also to be included in the model in the future. In the medium term, private customers and logisticians should also be able to use the technology. The Wolfsburg hope that the further development of autonomous driving will open up a multibillion-dollar global market.
However, the improvement of the software will never be finished, said Agro-AI boss Bryan Salesky: “It will never be completely finished.” Tasks such as dynamic learning of on-board controls and the anticipation of numerous driving situations are “incredibly complex”. A key goal will be to reduce accidents and ideally prevent them completely. VW and Argo have been researching and improving corresponding algorithms for some time, also through their joint cooperation with the US car manufacturer Ford.
Greenpeace activists in front of the event hall
The reduction of fossil CO2 emissions was also an issue in Munich. Activists from Greenpeace protested in front of the event hall – in their opinion, the VW Group is still doing too little here, despite the ramp-up of e-mobility and billions in investments. The traffic expert of the environmental organization, Marion Tiemann, handed over CEO Herbert Diess the application for the procedure, which Greenpeace had announced together with the German Environmental Aid (DUH) last week. One of the demands is that VW, for example, no longer sell any combustion engines by 2030 at the latest.
“VW’s decarbonization path is not compatible with the goal that the global temperature may rise by a maximum of 1.5 degrees due to the greenhouse effect,” said Tiemann. If it is claimed that, due to different market conditions in individual regions of the world, it is not possible to name a single date for phasing out combustion engines, this is not enough in terms of consistent climate protection: “It remains profit-oriented. You want to change something, but not too quickly.” Tiemann spoke briefly with Diess about the status of climate policy in various countries. The VW boss emphasized that a lot is already being done – the switch to eco-energies is not just a task for the auto industry.