Volkswagen has begun its real world testing of self driving cars in style.

A fleet of self-driving prototypes, based on the Volkswagen ID.Buzz, have hit the roads in Munich. The passengers will be made up of decision-makers from politics, public authorities and business, after all, they will be the people who back the adoption of the evolution or not.

Two sides

A parallel set of tests will be taking place in Austin, Texas. Its aim is to expand both the establishment of a new era of commercially available transport services, whilst also varying the mobility portfolio of the motor group.

At this stage, the initiative will be focused on commercial use in urban centres in Europe and North America. These include ride-sharing schemes as well as commercial and public transport services.

Mapping the future

Christian Senger, part of the team responsible for development of autonomous driving at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles believes it’s an important step on the road to future transport.

“Expanding our autonomous vehicle programme to North America is the next step in our global strategic roadmap and the result of a long-term investment.

“This will help us to test, validate and refine the technology on American roads as well.”

The all-electric ID.Buzz vehicles are equipped with a self-driving system from Mobileye. These are classified as ‘level 4’ vehicles, according to the SAE standard.

During the trial, all vehicles will have a supervising human driver in place to ensure safety. At the same time, there will be space for four passengers.

The test fleet will be collecting continuous data in a variety of driving scenarios, in real time and real life scenarios. It will will provide essential information on how the system copes with traffic, conditions and human interaction in and out of the vehicle.

In Germany, the Volkswagen Group subsidiary MOIA will be the first to use autonomous vehicles. However, in the US  the autonomous driving services will be run by external companies from the mobility and transport sector in the country.