Volkswagen plans to be able to operate self-driving shuttle fleets by 2030.
Announced as part of its broader New Auto brand event overnight, the brand’s new self-driving push involves owning its own autonomous fleets, and licensing the software and vehicles required to run them.
The updated autonomous plans are in keeping with a broader industry push to what are loosely grouped under the “mobility services” umbrella, expected to be a US$70 billion business in Europe’s big markets by 2030.
Volkswagen plans to roll out its first autonomous mobility service by 2025 in Europe on the back of a current pilot in Munich, Germany. A ride-sharing version of the electric ID. Buzz van is expected to feature.
It’ll be “shortly followed” by autonomous mobility in the USA, the company says.
One autonomous driving platform and software system will be at the core of the self-driving push, off which will be spun vehicles to cover rental and subscription markets, along with vehicles specific to car-sharing and ride-hailing (such as Uber) services.
Volkswagen is also promising cars sold to private customers will have Level 4 autonomous capability by 2025, on the back of software developed by its Argo.AI software partner.
“The Volkswagen Group aspires to achieve a strong competitive edge in the field of mobility solutions,” said Christian Dahlheim, head of Volkswagen Group sales.
“We will be able to offer services directly to our customers or cooperate with strong partners, depending on the specific situation in each market. One vehicle fleet for all services will enable us to operate very efficiently.
“Furthermore, our upcoming mobility platform will integrate all mobility offerings from the Group and our brands and thus maximise customer convenience.”
Along with Volkswagen, Renault has put mobility services at the core of its future plans – albeit with a less overt focus on autonomy.
It’ll be helmed by Clotilde Delbos, who is also Groupe Renault’s chief financial officer and deputy CEO.
Each vehicle in the Mobilize range will be all-electric and will fulfil different needs, including car-sharing and ride-hailing services and last mile delivery.
As a new mobility brand, Mobilize will offer hardware in the form of vehicles, and the software used to interact with them.
It’ll be supported by RCI Bank and Services, who’ll help provide leasing, subscription and pay-as-you-go options to users.
Leveraging Renault’s dealership network, Mobilize vehicles will be easily accessible in Europe whether that be for a quick drive up the road or with a multi-year subscription.