Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has revealed a prototype of the self-driving, fully electric ID Buzz AD (autonomous driving). Developed in conjunction with Argo AI, series versions of the EV are expected to begin operations in 2025, with MOIA to be the first company to utilize the AV.
Argo AI, which is headquartered in Munich, is to develop the self-driving system (SDS) for the ID. Buzz AD, including all the maps required, hardware, software and cloud-support infrastructure that powers the vehicle.
Testing of the ID. Buzz AD has been carried out in conjunction with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles at Argo’s development center in Neufahrn, Germany. The company also has a nine-hectare closed course close to Munich airport to test ‘unique’ European driving conditions. At present, Argo is putting the Volkswagen vehicle through further tests in Munich and other urban areas.
The self-driving system from Argo consists of an array of sensors, software and computer platforms to provide a 360° awareness of the vehicle’s environment. This enables the ID. Buzz AD to predict the movements of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, and consequently, the vehicle can drive, brake and steer in a safe, human-like manner.
Through a combination of cameras, radar and lidar, the vehicle can detect objects from more than 400m away due to its high positioning on the roof, while patented Geiger-mode technology enables low reflectivity vehicles, such as those that are painted black, to be detected.
At the IAA event, Christian Senger, head of autonomous driving at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, explained how the ID. Buzz AD is safer because of its self-driving system: “An environment recognition system from six lidar, 11 radar and 14 cameras, distributed over the entire vehicle, can capture much more than any human driver can from their seat.”
The AV is scheduled to start transporting passengers in Hamburg, Germany, in 2025, to chosen destinations as part of an MOIA ride-pooling service.
“The ID. Buzz AD test fleet represents a milestone in our partnership with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles,” commented Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO, Argo AI. “Building on our five years of development and learnings from our operations in large, complex US cities, we are excited to soon begin testing on the streets of Munich in preparation for the launch of the self-driving commercial ride-pooling service with MOIA.”