VW partners with Qatar to deploy self-driving electric Kombis in 2022
Volkswagen hinted at some degree of self-driving capability when announcing a production version of its ID. Buzz electric Kombi van two years ago, and it now appears the Qatari capital of Doha will be among the first locales to experience these skills in full fight. The automaker has entered an agreement with the local government to deploy a self-driving electric shuttle service in the city, which will also feature self-driving trucks from VW-owned Scania.
The initiative is called Project Qatar Mobility and will involve a fleet of 35 self-driving electric ID. Buzz vans traveling along semi-fixed routes in Doha. These will transport four people at a time, while a set of 10 self-driving Scania trucks will have space onboard for 10 passengers per trip.
Volkswagen will work with the Qatar Investment Authority to setup the infrastructure for the self-driving service, which will be integrated with the city’s existing public transport network.
Volkswagen says the fleet will be capable of Level 4 autonomy. At this point, the vehicle is fully capable of driving itself without human assistance. If it does encounter conditions it can’t handle, it will call for human assistance. If a helping hand isn’t forthcoming, it will park itself to avoid the danger.
According to Volkswagen, testing of the vehicles will commence on closed roads in 2020, with trials to start as early as 2021. The project will go live by the “end of 2022.”