The iconic VW microbus will become a robotaxi known as VW ID Buzz
Five years after Volkswagen first revealed the concept for an electric version of its iconic microbus, we finally have our first glimpse of the vehicle on the road. The design is far away from the era of hippies and flower power, the VW ID Buzz is equipped with high-tech sensors and lots of computing power for its new role as an autonomous test vehicle. VW says it plans to launch a full-scale commercial ride-hailing operation in Germany by 2025 and the autonomous VW ID Buzz will serve as the platform.
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For now, VW deploy the VW ID Buzz on public roads for testing around Munich. The German Government gave green light for autonomous testing to be conducted on the A9 Highway between Munich and Ingolstadt (Headquarter of Audi). The new van was first seen at the 2021 IAA Mobility Event in Munich. The development of is done in cooperation with Argo AI, a Pittsburgh startup that is backed by VW and Ford. The Automakers formed an alliance in 2019 as a way to spread out the cost of developing autonomous vehicles.
As part of that deal, VW invested the huge sum of $2.6 billion in Argo, which at the time saw its valuation rise to $7 billion. (That valuation has since increased to $12.4 billion as the company explores a public offering.) Argo since opened an office in Munich and took over the VW’s autonomous driving team that was based there.
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