The Volkswagen Group has initiated the testing phase of its self-driving Volkswagen ID.Buzz electric vans in the U.S. as part of its strategy for launching robotaxi services.
The pilot phase is marked by a fleet of ten ID.Buzz vans, global versions condensed in size, deployed in Austin. VW Group foresees these autonomous ID.Buzz vans operational in a robotaxi service by 2026.
A glance at Volkswagen ID.4
In the coming years, the test fleet is set to broaden, extending to a minimum of four additional U.S. cities, as reported by VW Group on Thursday. During these test runs, a safety engineer will be present on board each vehicle.
Rather than rolling out its own robotaxi service in the U.S., VW Group plans to provide its autonomous vans, alongside fleet management and remote guidance services, to other companies that specialize in mobility services. Although specific partners weren’t named, the self-driving vans could potentially be integrated into fleets managed by companies such as Uber and Lyft.
Testing of Volkswagen ID.Buzz autonomous prototype in Austin, Texas – July 2023
VW Group has been conducting separate trials in Germany for several years, aiming to establish a robotaxi service in Hamburg by 2025, as previously stated. In Germany, the service is likely to be overseen by VW Group’s in-house Moia mobility business.
A significant amount of progress has been made since VW Group revealed plans to test a fleet of autonomous ID.Buzz vans in the U.S. just a year ago. The launch of retail versions of the ID.Buzz has been postponed by a year, with sales expected to commence in the U.S. in 2024 as a 2025 model. The model designed for U.S. markets will be a longer wheelbase option available in other markets.
The VW Group has ceased its collaboration with former key partner, Argo AI, in the robotaxi project and is now partnering with Intel’s Mobileye autonomous technology company. Simultaneously, the group is working on autonomous technology through its Cariad software venture and Bosch for privately owned vehicles. The launch timeline for the technology across all VW Group brands remains unclear.
The autonomous ID.Buzz vans have achieved Level 4 in the SAE scale of autonomous capabilities, which signifies a vehicle’s ability to operate entirely independently under certain conditions, typically within a geofenced area. Level 5, the apex of the scale, designates a vehicle that can operate without human intervention under all conditions a human driver would encounter.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Autonomous ID.Buzz Vans Testing
Where is the testing of Volkswagen’s autonomous ID.Buzz vans taking place?
The testing of Volkswagen’s self-driving ID.Buzz vans is currently being conducted in Austin, Texas.
When does Volkswagen Group plan to have the autonomous ID.Buzz vans operating in a robotaxi service?
Volkswagen Group anticipates that the autonomous ID.Buzz vans will be operational in a robotaxi service by 2026.
Will Volkswagen Group offer its own robotaxi service in the U.S.?
No, Volkswagen Group plans to provide its self-driving vans and related fleet management and remote guidance services to other firms specializing in mobility, not to run its own robotaxi service.
When is the retail version of the ID.Buzz expected to start sales in the U.S.?
The retail version of the ID.Buzz is expected to start sales in the U.S. in 2024 as a 2025 model.
What level of self-driving capability do the ID.Buzz vans possess?
The self-driving ID.Buzz vans rank at Level 4 on the SAE scale of self-driving capability, meaning they can operate fully autonomously in set conditions, typically within a geofenced area.
More about Autonomous ID.Buzz Vans Testing
- Volkswagen ID.Buzz
- SAE Levels of Driving Automation
- Robotaxi Services
- VW Group and Mobileye
- Argo AI
- Volkswagen’s in-house Moia mobility business