VW to launch fully autonomous vehicles from 2021

German Volkswagen Group (VW) has announced plans to launch fully autonomous Level 5 cars, vans and trucks, from 2021. The technology will be tested at its headquarters in Wolfsburg.

“Developers also are working on concepts for a robotic sports car.” – image courtesy of VW

Sedric (‘self-driving car’) was the first concept for autonomous vehicles from the Volkswagen Group.

And it is the first vehicle in the group to have been created for level 5 of autonomous driving –in other words a person as a human driver is no longer required.

According to CEO Matthias Müller, Sedric was just the beginning for the German car maker, when it comes to bringing full self-driving to the automotive market.

Müller explained: “Our team is already working on ideas for a whole Sedric family of fully autonomous vehicles for the city, for luxurious long-range mobility, through self-driving delivery vans and heavy commercial trucks.”

The four-person vehicle features no signs or logos from any of the group’s vehicle brands. It will be the base for the company’s push for the driverless vehicle market.

Johann Jungwirth, the group’s head of digitisation strategy, said: “The vehicles will be available for the public to hail via the VW-affiliated Moia and Gett mobility brands. The goal is for the vehicles to run to ‘all addresses’ in those cities. Fleets of fully autonomous ride-sharing vehicles will be running in ‘two to five’ cities globally by 2021.”

Dr Michaela Colla spoke on the event ‘Industry of Things’ in Berlin on 18 September.

Also Dr Michaela Colla, director of industry 4.0. at VW, recently presented on the event ‘Industry of Things’ in Berlin VW’s plans for ‘automotive value creation through cross-functional Industry 4.0.’

She said, that VW aims to transform into a company which focuses not ‘only on offering hardware but as well software solutions’.

Colla stated, that the automotive industry faces huge challenges and that VW will offer already from 2020 autonomous cars.

As well, mobility itself will have to be reinvented through ‘shared economy’ concepts, where consumer goods will not necessarily be purchased anymore but shared or borrowed.

As a consequence, ‘electric mobility’ and ‘autonomous driving concepts’ are inevitable ongoing projects within the VW Group.

Colla said to The Manufacturer: “The times when companies invested something like £10m in huge projects are over. Nowadays, big companies like VW do invest all the time constantly in a variety of small projects.”