Self-Driving Volkswagen ID Buzz Minivans Entering Real-World Autonomous TrialsThe upcoming VW Bus homage will get Argo AI tech to enable Level 4 self-driving.See all 2 photosAll-electric ID. BUZZ shall be the first vehicle in the Volkswagen Group to also drive autonomously.Alex KiersteinAuthorManufacturerPhotographerMay 14, 2021

The Volkswagen ID Buzz delays are a, uh, buzzkill, but at least while we’re waiting until 2023 or so to drive one ourselves the reimagined modern Bus will be put to good use. Volkswagen owns a stake in self-driving startup Argo AI along with Ford, which is part of a broader alliance between the two companies that will also involve VW MEB platform-sharing. And VW is going to leverage that Argo AI tech to stuff the ID Buzz full of sensors, and set it loose at a test facility in Munich as part of a «Level 4-capable» autonomous driving suite test program.

The goal is to get self-driving ID Buzzes ready for commercial delivery service in 2025. The test program hopes to have the vehicles out of the test facility and onto public roads later this year.

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Unlike a particularly bullish-on-self-driving-cars automaker and its driver assistance system that eschews lidar (it rhymes with «besla»), Argo AI’s sensor suite embraces the more comprehensive scanning tech. The company’s new «Argo Lidar» can resolve an object from 437 yards away and can sense just a single photon being reflected from a low-reflectivity object. In addition to lidar, the system includes radar and cameras.

While it’s early days yet, the system already has a user signed up: VW’s subsidiary MOIA, which is a ride-sharing company in Germany. By 2025, if everything goes to plan, the company will utilize the ID Buzz as an autonomous ride pooling vehicle.