Volkswagen and Argo AI reveal first ID Buzz test vehicle for autonomous driving
| Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, a standalone VW brand responsible for the development and sales of light commercial vehicles, and Argo AI, an autonomous driving technology company, unveiled the first version of the ID Buzz AD (Autonomous Driving) on Sunday.|
The two companies shared plans to test and commercially scale the jointly developed, fully-electric self-driving van over the next four years at the VW night event ahead of the
in Munich. Testing of the prototype, one of the first five planned test vehicles, has already begun and will continue at Argo’s development center in Neufahrn, near Munich, as well as at Argo’s nine hectare closed course near the Munich airport, which tests for a variety of traffic situations unique to European driving conditions, and Argo’s test track in the United States.
In 2025, MOIA, a subsidiary of the VW Group that works with cities and local public transport providers on mobility solutions, will be commercially launching the ID Buzz in Hamburg as part of a self-driving ride-pool system. The ride-pool service is designed to leverage the power of autonomous systems to relieve inner-city congestion.
At the event, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, which has developed a separate businesses unit devoted to autonomous driving and acquired a stake in Argo AI, demonstrated how ride-pooling via a self-driving system can help with managing traffic flows.
VW first revealed the ID Buzz as a
, a futuristic take on the classic microbus that invokes nostalgia as a family camper van. The final product looks a bit different than the iconic campers, now containing all of the bells and whistles of autonomy, such as Argo’s proprietary sensor Argo Lidar, which sits on top of the Buzz’s roof. According to Argo AI, its lidar can detect objects from a distance of more than 1,300 feet, or 400 meters. Four years ago,
, which has allowed the company to produce this new, highly accurate sensor with patented Geiger-mode technology that can detect a single photon, the smallest of light particles, so that it can capture, detect and precisely represent objects with low reflectivity like black vehicles.
Argo AI’s entire system consists of sensors and software that give the computer a 360 degree awareness of the vehicle’s environment, allowing it to “predict the actions of pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles, and direct the engine, braking and steering systems so that the vehicle moves safely and naturally, like an experienced driver,” according to a statement from VW.
This isn’t the first time Argo’s tech will be used to transport humans where they need to go. In July, Argo and Ford announced plans to launch at
over the next five years in cities like Miami and Austin. In the same month, the California Public Utilities Commission issued Argo a
so it could start testing on public California roads. Argo AI recently also received a
, nearly two years after the VW Group finalized its $2.6 billion investment in the company.
Sep 06th, 2021