Volkswagen has teased another use for its all-electric autonomous ID Buzz AD: as an ambulance.
Volkswagen promises its autonomous EV, being developed in partnership with Argo AI, will be on roads as a ride-sharing taxi by 2025.
It’s showing off the vehicle at the 2021 Intelligent Mobility Solutions (ITS) World Congress.
Although Volkswagen wants you to see the ID Buzz as the ultimate city transportation, the company is also imagining what other purposes the commercial electric vehicle (EV) could provide.
Volkswagen pictures the ID Buzz being used in situations such as an autonomous delivery vehicle, as well as an autonomous ambulance.
In the video, every autonomous ID Buzz example featured had the front seats facing into the vehicle, rather than facing out the windscreen as traditionally seen.
“As designers we’re the people who think up these new living environments,” said Albert Kirzinger, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles head of design.
“To really get inside the head of somebody in the future, and to offer them different things, to analyse their needs … and then to define a vehicle from the basic requirements. That’s what design of the future has to do.”
In other words, Volkswagen is saying that it wants the ID Buzz to not only function as a robotaxi, but to be used for as many different purposes as possible.
Volkswagen and Argo AI are aiming to create the first SAE Level 4 autonomous vehicle for the Volkswagen Group.
The Volkswagen ID Buzz AD prototype was first seen in September 2021 at the Munich motor show wearing some serious recording kit.
After receiving the base ID Buzz in early 2021, U.S. startup Argo spent months testing the hardware and software ahead of its announcement.
Featuring a raft of cameras, radars and a LiDAR sensor, the team at Argo is able to capture a 360-degree map around the vehicle, day or night.
It’s trying to create the “world’s best driver”, according to Brian Salesky, Argo CEO.
There’s currently a pilot program of the ID Buzz AD robotaxi happening in Hamburg, Germany, with testing also happening at the Munich International Airport.
There’s a test track at the airport that reportedly features unique parking scenarios, European-style roundabouts, European signs, and painted road signals.
A production version of the regular all-electric ID Buzz is expected in Europe in 2022, but an Australian launch has yet to be confirmed.