For a long time, the German manufacturer Volkswagen kept away from the topic of unmanned vehicles. The company was focused on the development and production of electric vehicles, announcing the recently updated Golf. Now the management has decided to do autonomous driving systems. To do this, even created a special unit.
To develop the autopilot, Volkswagen opened a subsidiary, Volkswagen Autonomy (VWAT). It already has several offices in Munich and Wolfsburg (Germany). Over the next two years, the manufacturer will increase the number of headquarters, with one located in Silicon Valley and the other in China.
The goal of VWAT is to develop technologies that will allow Volkswagen cars to be equipped with autonomous driving systems. The new department is headed by a former Apple engineer Alex Hitzinger. It is reported that earlier he took part in the creation of electric cars "Apple" brand.
The management of Volkswagen Autonomy made it clear that no one is preparing a revolution. The priority remains to test software developed jointly with Ford and Argo AI - the latter owned by VW, which has invested more than $ 2.6 billion in the enterprise. The result should be a system for moving the machine with minimal human intervention.
The head of Volkswagen Autonomy noted that the leader in the field of self-driving cars is still Waymo, owned by Google. However, he believes that so far all manufacturers are "far from a real commercial and viable product" in the field of autonomous driving systems.
"We plan to begin commercializing autonomous driving on a large scale around the middle of the next decade," said VWAT chief Alex Hitzinger.
One of VW's latest announcements was the self-parking system. The company intends to use it in cars of its own production from 2020. In parallel, autonomous sedans are being tested on the streets of Hamburg (Germany).