VW shows self-driving “Bulli” prototypes at the IAA

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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 on Sunday evening in Munich.

Self-driving “Bullis” based on the ID.Buzz introduced at the beginning of this year are to be used for robot taxi services, for example. 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 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.

With the further development of autonomous driving, the Wolfsburg hope for the development of a multibillion-dollar global market. However, the improvement of the software will never be finished, explained Argo 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 objective 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.

The reduction of fossil CO2Emissions 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.

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The traffic expert of the environmental organization, Marion Tiemann, handed over to 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.

2019 at the IAA: The external dimensions of the Buzz correspond to those of the current T6.

“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 uniform 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.


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