Volkswagen and Argo AI reveal first ID Buzz test vehicle for autonomous

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, on Sunday unveiled the first version of the id Buzz AD (autonomous driving).

The two companies shared plans to test and commercially scale a jointly developed, fully electric self-driving van over the next four years at the VW Night event ahead of the 2021 IAA Mobility event 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 Neufahren near Munich, as well as at Argo’s nine-hectare closed course near Munich Airport, which is located in various fields. Performs types of tests. European driving conditions and traffic conditions unique to Argo’s test track in the United States.

“Building on learning from our five years of development and our operations in large, complex US cities, we are excited to soon begin testing the streets of Munich in preparation for the launch of a self-driving commercial ridepooling service with MOIA,” What was said. Brian Selsky, founder and CEO of Argo AI, said in a statement.

In 2025, MOIA, a subsidiary of the VW Group that works on mobility solutions with cities and local public transport providers, will commercially launch 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 address inner-city congestion.

At the event, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, which has developed a separate business unit dedicated to autonomous driving and acquired a stake in Argo AI, demonstrated how ride-pooling through a self-driving system can help manage traffic flow. can do

Christian Sanger, Head of Autonomous Driving at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “An environmental detection system consisting of six lidars, eleven radars and fourteen cameras, distributed throughout the vehicle, captures far more from his seat than any human driver. can do.” accident.

VW first revealed the id Buzz in 2017 as a concept vehicle, a futuristic take on the classic Microbus that invokes nostalgia in the form of a family camper van. The final product looks a little different than iconic campers, which now have all the bells and whistles of autonomy, such as Argo’s proprietary sensor Argo Lidar, which sits atop the Buzz’s roof. According to Argo AI, its lidar can detect objects from a distance of over 1,300 feet or 400 meters. Four years ago, Argo acquired lidar company Princeton Lightwave, which allowed the company to produce this new, highly accurate sensor with patented Geiger-mode technology that can detect a single photon, the smallest light particles , so that it can capture, detect and accurately represent low reflectivity objects like black vehicles.

Argo AI’s entire system consists of sensors and software that give computers 360-degree awareness of the vehicle’s environment, allowing it to “predict the actions of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, and control the engine, braking and steering systems.” allows the vehicle to move safely and naturally, just like an experienced driver,” according to a statement from VW.

This isn’t the first time Argo’s technology will be used to take humans where they need to go. In July, Argo and Ford announced plans to launch at least 1,000 self-driving vehicles on Lyft’s ride-hailing network over the next five years in cities such as Miami and Austin. That same month, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a powered AV pilot permit to Argo so that it could begin testing on public California roads. Argo AI recently received a valuation of $7.5 billion, nearly two years after VW Group finalized its $2.6 billion investment in the company.

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