Jul 6, 2023 – Volkswagen Group of America Launches Autonomous Driving Vehicle Test Fleet in Austin, Texas

The Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) has announced the commencement of its first autonomous vehicle test program in Austin, Texas, starting in July 2023. The initiative will be introduced with an initial set of 10 all-electric ID. Buzz vehicles, which will be equipped with an autonomous driving (AD) technology platform developed by the global Volkswagen Group in collaboration with the tech firm Mobileye. Over the next three years, the company intends to expand its test fleet in Austin and plans to extend its testing operations to at least four additional U.S. cities. Following the investments made during this pilot phase, VWGoA aims to launch a commercial autonomous driving service in Austin by 2026.

Pablo Di Si, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, on the U.S. Pilot Program

Pablo Di Si, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, expressed enthusiasm about introducing the ID. Buzz vehicles to American roads. He highlighted the significance of expanding the Volkswagen Group’s autonomous driving vehicle program to the U.S., viewing it as a critical step forward. Di Si anticipates that the program will meet the growing demand for new mobility services and believes that the ID. Buzz will serve as an appealing option for reliable transportation services for American consumers.

Strategy and Business Development Led by VWGoA

Volkswagen Group of America will spearhead the strategy and business development efforts in the U.S. and has established a subsidiary named Volkswagen ADMT, LLC to facilitate the deployment of its autonomous driving vehicle program, with teams based in Belmont, California, and Austin, Texas. The company also plans to incorporate team members who have previously collaborated with Argo AI.

Future Plans for Autonomous Driving Technology and ID. Buzz Vehicles

The company’s plans include utilizing autonomous driving technology and ID. Buzz vehicles from the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand in Germany. VWGoA aims to offer fleets of specially designed ID. Buzz AD vehicles as part of a comprehensive service, which will include fleet management and remote guidance solutions to leading companies in the mobility and transportation sector. The company is also focused on establishing long-term partnerships but is not currently developing its own dedicated ride-hailing or ride-sharing service.

Christian Senger on the Expansion of the Autonomous Vehicle Program

Christian Senger, a member of the board of management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles with responsibility for autonomous driving development, described the expansion into the North American Region as a logical next step in the company’s global strategy. This move is seen as a result of long-term collaborative investment and is expected to aid in testing, validating, and refining technology. It will also contribute to the development of commercially viable transportation offerings and the growth of the Volkswagen Group’s diverse mobility portfolio.

Data Collection and Technology Platform in Austin’s Test Fleet

In Austin, the expanding test fleet of ID. Buzz AD vehicles will be used to gather data through miles driven in various driving scenarios. Each vehicle in the initial fleet is equipped with an AD technology platform that includes cameras, radar, and lidar technology, developed through the partnership between the global Volkswagen Group and Mobileye. To ensure safety, all vehicles will have supervising human drivers present during the test phase.

Katrin Lohmann on the Autonomous Pilot in Austin

Katrin Lohmann, President of Volkswagen ADMT, LLC, conveyed excitement about the rollout of the autonomous pilot and test fleet in Austin. The city was chosen as the first U.S. hub due to its reputation for embracing innovation and offering a favorable environment for testing autonomous vehicles. Lohmann emphasized the company’s commitment to maintaining an open and collaborative dialogue with the city and its diverse stakeholders.

About Volkswagen Group of America

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG and represents one of the world’s foremost automobile manufacturers and Europe’s largest carmaker. VWGoA is home to the U.S. operations of a global family of distinguished brands including Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Volkswagen. The company operates a state-of-the-art assembly facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and provides financial services through its subsidiary VW Credit, Inc. Headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, VWGoA employs around 6,000 individuals in the U.S. and distributes its vehicles via a network of roughly 1,000 independent dealers.

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