VW to Share Autonomous-Car Know-How
Volkswagen AG says it is willing to share future technologies for Level 4 and 5 self-driving vehicles with other carmakers to defray development costs.
Alexander Hitzinger, who heads the group’s autonomous driving initiatives, tells Bloomberg News that sharing also would help VW catch up with rivals such as Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo robo-car unit.
Hitzinger returned to VW after a stint with Apple Inc., which is believed to be developing software to guide autonomous vehicles. Before moving to the tech giant, he organized a development team at VW’s Porsche unit, whose 919 hybrid race car won the Le Mans racing championship in 2015 and 2016.
Last month Hitzinger was named to head Volkswagen Autonomy GmbH. The new subsidiary was set up to organize the carmaker’s work on autonomous vehicles and prepare it to launch a large-scale commercial application by about 2025.
When you think of complex, highly technical devices that you use every day in your car—in fact, possibly as much as three to 10 times per minute—you probably don’t think of your rearview mirror.
While at the Tokyo Motor Show this week various vehicle manufacturers were showing off all manner of cars and crossovers and transportation devices that typically had to do with something autonomous, connected and/or electrified (ACE, as CAR’s Brett Smith categorizes this burgeoning field), the guys from Chevy were in El Segundo, California, showing off a different take on what can best be described as “toys for boys”—boys who do or don’t have driver’s licenses.
Mazda, the Little Car Company That Can, has been working on a number of important fronts of late.