Electric cars will become 'biggest data-gathering device' by 2030 when self-driving is mainstream, says VW CEO

Electric cars will become ‘biggest data-gathering device’ by 2030 when self-driving is mainstream, says VW CEO

While the ex-Volkswagen CEO was of the opinion that Level 3 autonomous driving requires radar equipment, contrary to Elon Musk’s view, it can only be done with Tesla Vision cameras, its successor Now says self-driving Volkswagens will be a common sight in 2030. Sitting for an interview, Mr. Thomas Schaffer added that the company’s expensive test vehicles are currently roaming the streets of Munich and Hamburg and there will be a autonomous commercial fleet of VW ID Buzz electric cars by 2025.

Proof of concept isn’t easy, however, the VW CEO warned. While it’s unclear if the company’s self-driving technology relies on LiDAR in addition to cameras, the “cost of [testing] the car is still prohibitive because so little is made“, said Mr. Schafer. He wants Volkswagen to have an early lead on autonomous driving, because the regulatory hurdles are enormous. A carmaker must show that its system is superior to humans, and the legislation differs considerably from country to country. to another, so a newcomer will have a hard time going through all the stops to compete with more established solutions.

In the meantime, all that computing power needed to deliver the complex calculations of raw input from its sensory sidekicks will turn electric cars into “the largest data collection device there is.” While this may sound scary for privacy-conscious people, Germany also has one of the strongest security safeguards, and that’s one of the reasons driving laws autonomous is so complex to navigate:

You have to focus on it and that’s why we push so hard in the CV [Commercial Vehicles] division, because once that happens, it opens up profit margins and opportunities. I wouldn’t say winner takes all, but this is a game you need to be at early. You can’t wait and then fast forward, that’s why we’re totally focused on it.

In 2020, VW invested $2.6 billion in startup Argo AI founded by Google’s former autonomous driving systems hardware chief. Argo’s pie-in-the-sky development of Level 4/5 self-driving solutions, however, could not serve its legacy automaker investors who need a faster time to market, although at lower levels of autonomy. That’s why Argo was then dissolved between its backers like Ford and VW, while the German automaker outsourced its self-driving technology development to its software subsidiary Cariad.

Volkswagen is one of Tesla’s main competitors and some analysts predict it will overtake Elon Musk’s company in market share as early as 2024. That’s why VW can’t afford to lose the self-driving race in the profit from Tesla and it will be interesting to see what his solution can do once it becomes commercially available.

Previously, Volkswagen said it would bet on a pay-as-you-go system where self-driving service is only charged when needed and used, rather than Tesla’s subscription or direct sales. , so it remains to be seen which payment model will prove more popular.

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