VW Driverless Shuttle to Launch in Qatar

Prototype driverless versions of Volkswagen’s ID. Buzz BEVs will take part in an autonomous pilot to be run in Qatar.

The automaker has signed an agreement to participate in the trials in the city of Doha run jointly with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). It is expected a fleet of Level 4 enabled shuttles will usher in a new era of urban mobility in the city in 2022. The program, dubbed Project Qatar Mobility, will also see Scania buses provide autonomous mobility solutions in time for the FIFA World Cup to be hosted by Qatar.

QIA and VW will work together to develop the required physical and digital infrastructure to integrate a fleet of self-driving vehicles into Doha’s existing public transport network. Autonomous, electric ID. Buzz AD from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will attempt to shuttle up to four passengers each in the Westbay area on semi-fixed routes while buses pick up larger groups. VW’s specialist business units Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID) and Moia mobility wing will provide the specialist knowledge and the app software to run the service. Closed testing of the shuttle vehicles and buses is expected to begin in 2020 and trials will start as early as 2021.

Dr Herbert Diess, chairman of VW, said: “Project Qatar Mobility will play a very important role in our Strategy Together 2025+. Addressing the economic growth, social development, and environmental management challenges identified as part of our vision and underlines our commitment to investing in next generation mobility. We will be experiencing real-world learnings and use the project as a stepping stone – for generations to come.”

Henrik Henriksson, president and CEO of Scania added: “In the coming years, technological and infrastructural progress in electric and autonomous vehicles will be key enablers in that shift. With regards to people transport, a higher degree of sharing is also important and through advances in autonomous transport it will be simpler to introduce more flexibility in shared people transport. It is exciting to play a role in cutting edge projects like this one in Qatar.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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