Audi A7 piloted driving concept

VW committed to fully automated driverless vehicles

Volkswagen is planning further acquisitions in the market for new transportation technologies and services as it seeks to make up ground after its emissions scandal.

Europe’s largest automaker, which had been reluctant to commit to new industry trends like car sharing, is also looking for more alliances with technology firms.

VW digital chief Johann Jungwirth said this in an interview with Reuters. He admits that the company is late to the game of self-driving cars, but with its brand Audi the company is committed to develop a fully self-driving car, rather than ‘just’ self-driving technology.

Software and services

“Yes, there are further opportunities” for purchases, Jungwirth said in an interview with Reuters. “We have quite a few things in the pipeline,” he said, without going into further details. VW recently took a 300 dollar million stake in ride-hailing company Gett, but the German company is a latecomer on new technologies such as self-driving cars and ride- sharing. “We have a massive need to now work with the same passion for detail and the same focus on software and services as on hardware (cars),” said Jungwirth.

Through its brand Audi, the car company has committed itself to developing a fully self-driving car rather than autonomous-drive features that would occasionally require the intervention of the driver. To help speed its development of self-driving cars, the manager said VW will “massively expand” its presence in Silicon Valley, where it is setting up centers for future design and autonomous driving alongside its electronics research lab.

Overseas cities

VW will be at the forefront of carmakers rolling out fully automated driverless vehicles for commercial ride-sharing no later than 2021, according to Jungwirth. Like other car makers, VW may target overseas cities for its autonomous vehicle program as the United States and China are likely to push harder than Europe to authorize the operation of self-driving cars. “I expect the first such vehicles to hit the market in the next 3 to 5 years,” said Jungwirth.

Author: Vincent Krabbendam

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