Volkswagen on the road to launching a fully autonomous carNovember 12, 2019
Volkswagen intends to launch a fully autonomous driving system by 2025, and the automaker emphasizes the importance of the technology behind these ambitious efforts.
While a number of companies are working on autonomous driving technologies, Volkswagen’s efforts began in March when the company began testing a fleet of five electronic Golf in Hamburg. The models were equipped with an assortment of sensors, including seven radars, eleven lasers, 14 cameras, and 14 ultrasonic sensors. They generate approximately five gigabytes of data every minute, and all this information is processed by a modern computer, which has the processing power equal to the performance of 15 laptops.
As part of the development process, Volkswagen is testing its e-Golf prototypes in several phases. Each stage lasts about one week, and cars drive 3.9 km on specially equipped roads about 3 km several times a day. According to Volkswagen Helge Neuner, this lengthy testing and development is crucial. “We, as people, have learned from childhood to recognize the environment. But first, we must teach technology this. ”
It’s not that simple, and Volkswagen Autonomy CEO Alexander Hitzinger called it “one of the greatest challenges of our time.” It’s hard enough to find vehicles for identifying and recognizing the environment, but then the tricky part is creating algorithms that have to deal with “an almost infinite number of traffic and security scenarios”. To overcome these challenges, Volkswagen will invest $ 48.5 billion in e-mobility, autonomous driving, new mobility services, and the digitization of vehicles and facilities. According to the company, this should ultimately lead to autonomous vehicles without a steering wheel or pedals.
As part of these efforts, the automaker created the Volkswagen Autonomy last month. The new subsidiary will focus on Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving systems and will complement the company’s partnership with ARGO AI. It will also combine the various Volkswagen Group autonomous driving programs under one roof.
While Volkswagen uses the e-Golf as a test model to develop its autonomous driving system, the company noted that the first use of Level 4 and Level 5 systems is planned for the commercial sector. As a result, Volkswagen intends to develop special vehicles, such as robo taxis and vans.
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