Volkswagen is getting more serious about the future of self-driving vehicles.
The carmaker is establishing the subsidiary Volkswagen Autonomy as a center of excellence for autonomous driving to bring self-driving systems to market.
The first applications are planned in the commercial sector.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will develop and build special purpose vehicles, such as robo taxis and robo vans, Volkswagen stated in the announcement.
"Autonomous driving presents the entire industry with major challenges: high development costs, extremely high demands on sensor technology plus a lack of regulatory systems and heterogeneous regional standards," stated Alexander Hitzinger, senior vice president for autonomous driving in the Volkswagen Group, who is responsible for technical development at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
"Our goal is to build an agile, high-performance development team with the know-how to realize a self-driving system ready to market."
In 2020 and 2021, two more companies are planned, one in Silicon Valley and another in China, in addition to the one in Germany.
Volkswagen plans to start commercializing large-scale autonomous driving “around the middle of the next decade,” states Hitzinger.
Earlier this year, the Volkswagen Group said it was investing $2.6 billion in Argo AI, the Ford-backed autonomous driving startup.
The current plan is for the two ventures to work together on self-driving systems.
The self-driving realization is proving a lot tougher than it first looked.