VW Targets L4 Autonomous BEV By 2026

Volkswagen promises to commercially build and market a Level 4 capable autonomous BEV within five years.

The all-electric sedan is to be built at its Wolfsburg plant in Germany and is being developed under the project name Trinity is derived from the Latin “trinitas” and stands for the tri- unity. VW says it stands for three crucial themes: a newly developed electronics platform with state-of-the-art software, the simplification of the supply structure and fully networked and intelligent production at the Wolfsburg factory.

It hopes to bring autonomous driving in the mass market albeit probably starting at the premium end of the car buying public. By the planned start of series production in 2026, Trinity will already reach Level 2+ and be technically ready for Level 4 depending on permissions by different nation regulators.

Idling Technology

The automaker says future vehicle models will be produced with considerably fewer variants and the hardware will be mainly standardized. The cars will built with almost all capabilities on board and customers will be able to activate desired functions “on demand” at any time via the digital ecosystem in the car.

While reducing production complexity, it could also increase unit costs and there is always the question would the market be ready to pay the screen ticket the automaker will need to make a profit on technology it isn’t going to use?

However, VW believes that by developing the automobile into more like a software-based product it hopes to create a new, data-based business model. Entry barriers to individual mobility are to be lowered while at the same time offering even more attractive user packages. Volkswagen intends to generate additional revenue in user demanded features such as for charging and energy services, for software-based functions that customers can book as needed or for automated driving.

Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen, said: “We are using our economies of scale to make autonomous driving available to many people and to build a learning neural network. In this way, we are creating the conditions for the continuous exchange of data from our vehicle fleet – for example, on the traffic situation, on obstacles or on accidents.

“Digitalization, automation and lightweight construction play an important role here. In the future, the individual configuration of the vehicle will no longer be determined by the hardware at the time of purchase. Instead, customers will be able to add functions on demand at any time via the digital ecosystem in the car.”

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

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