VW Forms Autonomous-Driving Unit

Steve Plumb

Volkswagen AG is creating a new subsidiary, Volkswagen Autonomy GmbH (VWAT), to head the carmaker’s development and deployment of Level 4/5 fully autonomous vehicle systems.

The carmaker aims to launch “large-scale” commercial applications of self-driving vehicles by the middle of the next decade. The initial focus will be on urban applications, with VWAT developing technologies that Volkswagen’s Commercial Vehicles unit will use in robo-taxis and automated delivery vans.

VWAT will be headed by Alexander Hitzinger, Volkswagen Group’s senior vice president for autonomous driving. He also is a member of the Volkswagen brand’s management board, where he is responsible for technical development at the company’s Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles operations.

 

At launch, the autonomy unit will use facilities in Munich and Wolfsburg. Sites in Silicon Valley and China will be added in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

In addition to leveraging resources throughout VW Group’s brands and business units, VWAT will work with Ford Motor Co.’s Argo AI affiliate. VW invested $1 billion and took a 37% stake in the Silicon Valley-based tech company in July. VWAT’s Munich site will serve as Argo’s European headquarters.