Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is to take on the lead role in the development of autonomous driving in the Volkswagen Group with the launch of a new division.
Speaking at this week’s annual press conference, VWCV CEO Carsten Intra said the brand’s vehicles were the logical first place of use for autonomous system and the expectation is that autonomous systems from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will be in commercial use by 2025. The brand announced last month that the all-electric ID. Buzz passenger van, which revives the microbus as an EV, would be the first vehicle in the Volkswagen Group to drive autonomously and will be used for field trials in German this year.
Alongside its vehicles, new mobility services covering the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and Transport as a Service (TaaS) sectors are also being developed by VWCV “at great pace”.
Due to the great significance of mobility services and of the potential of autonomous driving, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is pooling its activities within a new division under the VWCV umbrella in cooperation with software startup Argo Al, which VW has made a number of investments in alongside Ford and will be used to underpin the ID Buzz field trials this year.
The division will also incorporate the work being carried out by VW with MOIA, Volkswagen Group’s ride-sharing service company, and Cito, its latest corporate startup which provides a digital switching platform for courier services.
Intra said: “Our objective is to play a key part with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in shaping the mobility of the next decade.”
He added that the new division would account over the medium term for a significant part of VWCV turnover and would form a third pillar of the VWCV strategy alongside its business customer offensive – which has been boosted by the new Caddy and its cooperation with Ford on three vehicle projects – while within the premium supplier field for family and leisure, it’s expanded its work in the camping vehicle segment with the new Caddy California.
The VWCV strategy also has firmly entrenched sustainability goals, including the electrification of the fleet, supported by the arrival of the new Multivan as a plug-in hybrid this year and the ID. Buzz next year.