VW to use Mobileye self-driving system for robotaxi service

By automotive-mag.com 3 Min Read

Volkswagen Group last week announced a wide-ranging partnership with Mobileye, which covers the use of the Israeli company’s self-driving technology for a robotaxi service. VW Group will also rely on Mobileye technology for automated driver-assist features to be used across a variety of its brands, including at Porsche.

While the driver-assist features will only rank at Level 2 on the SAE scale of self-driving capability, meaning they will still require the driver to monitor the road and be ready to take back control when prompted, Mobileye will also supply VW Group with a self-driving system ranked at Level 4 on the SAE scale.

Level 4 means a system that can operate for extended periods without a human driver, though such systems are typically limited to pre-mapped areas. Level 5 is the ultimate goal, i.e. a system that can operate at the same level as a human.

Mobileye’s Level 4 system consists of various software and hardware components, including two independent high-performance computers as well as 13 cameras, nine lidar, and five radar sensors. The system also has a cloud connection, where it constantly gathers swarm data from other road users.

VW Group will initially integrate Mobileye’s Level 4 system in specially prepared Volkswagen ID.Buzz electric vans that will be used for a robotaxi service. VW Group has been testing prototypes for the robotaxi service in Hamburg, Germany, and in Austin, Texas, and anticipates the first commercial service starting around 2026. The automaker said it is also looking at using self-driving vehicles for delivery services.

For the U.S., VW Group doesn’t plan to offer its own robotaxi service. Instead, the automaker wants to offer just the self-driving vans and accompanying fleet management and remote guidance services to other firms specializing in mobility. VW Group hasn’t mentioned any firms, but its self-driving vans could conceivably be used in fleets operated by the likes of Uber and Lyft.

Separately, VW Group is developing self-driving technology via its Cariad software division and supplier Bosch, for privately owned cars. The technology will be available to all VW Group brands, but timing is uncertain.

VW Group was previously working with U.S. self-driving technology startup Argo AI on the robotaxi service. But the startup was shut down in 2022 after its two main backers, VW Group and Ford, ceased funding it.

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