The Volkswagen Group is deepening its ties with Robert Bosch, which will help the German automaker develop Level 2 and Level 3 autonomous driving technology.

    The German technology company is working with Volkswagen’s software subsidiary, Cariad, on new Level 2 hands-free systems for urban, extra-urban and highway driving.

    A Level 3 autonomous feature is also being developed to take over all driving functions on the highway.

    The companies will also evaluate the possibility of setting joint development targets and timelines for Level 4 technology.

    Volkswagen and Bosch will jointly develop a software platform that’ll be deployed in “all privately used vehicle classes sold under Volkswagen Group brands”.

    “Together, we can test automated driving functions on a broader scale in actual vehicles and implement them more quickly,” said Dr. Ingo Stürmer, the alliance’s project director at Cariad.

    “Our engineering work will be done jointly, with Bosch and Cariad as one team. There has never been an alliance like this in the automotive industry.”

    The companies are calling this a “partnership on equal terms”, with Volkswagen being one of the world’s largest automakers and Bosch being one of the largest automotive suppliers.

    The companies say at peak times, more than 1000 experts will be involved in the project across the two companies, with data generated from testing in real traffic conditions.

    As a refresher, at Level 2 a car can steer, brake, and accelerate by itself, but still requires the driver to keep their hands on or near the steering wheel, and be alert to the current situation.

    Systems like Tesla’s AutoPilot are classified as Level 2.

    At Level 3, the driver doesn’t need to be paying attention to the road but needs to be ready at any moment to step in and resume their duties.

    Level 4 is when a vehicle defaults to autonomous driving, while with Level 5 there needn’t be a steering wheel or pedals at all.

    MORE: How autonomous is my car? Levels of self-driving explained

    This autonomous driving technology collaboration isn’t the only project being jointly undertaken by Volkswagen and Bosch.

    Earlier this month, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to industrialise manufacturing processes for battery cells in Europe.

    They plan to supply integrated battery production systems and provide maintenance support for manufacturers of battery cells and systems.

    Europe will be host to numerous cell factories in the coming years, with an expected annual capacity of around 700 gigawatt-hours by 2030.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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