Volkswagen hopes to build self-driving cars, a commercial reality by the middle of the next decade, the German carmaker said on Wednesday.
Alexander Hitzinger, VW’s Vice-president for autonomous driving announced in Germany.
Tests have been carried out in Hamburg using five specially-equipped electric Golf models on a 3-kilometre route, which has “roadside units” at 14 traffic lights to aid the vehicles. The cars, which have sensors on the roof, in the fenders and the front and rear, can so far predict the traffic situation for 10 seconds.
“We are working on a market-ready self-propelled system, which we want to commercialise as early as the middle of the next decade,” Hitzinger said.
“But fully autonomous driving on a grand scale – with more than 100,000 vehicles – is “a Herculean task,” he added.
For example, there is an infinite number of traffic scenarios and not all can be covered by algorithms while the systems also have to be able to ward off possible cyber attacks.
VW, which is cooperating with U.S. manufacturer Ford, believes China and the U.S. will become pioneer markets for self-driving cars but that it will be difficult in Europe to define legal frameworks.
Taxis and delivery vehicles are expected to be among the first wave.