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6 Dec, 2020 15:51

Autonomous cars may hit the road before the end of decade – world’s largest carmaker

Autonomous cars may hit the road before the end of decade – world’s largest carmaker

Self-driving cars may be available for sale between 2025 and 2030, Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess has predicted. His company, the leading global automaker by vehicle sales, is currently boosting its investment in the technology.

Speaking to German weekly magazine Wirtschaftswoche, the CEO said the process is being accelerated by the rapid development of computer chips and artificial intelligence (AI), which the company previously said was one of the main challenges facing the evolution of autonomous cars.

“It is foreseeable that the systems will soon be able to master even the complex situations of autonomous driving,” Diess said, as cited by the publication.

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Global automakers have been increasing funding for digital and electric vehicle technologies. Volkswagen earmarked nearly half of its 150-billion-euro budget for e-mobility, hybrid cars, a seamless, software-based vehicle operating system, as well as self-driving technologies, the company announced in November.

The VW boss also noted the progress made by the company’s rivals, saying he was impressed by the efforts of US company Waymo and Elon Musk’s Tesla. He called the latter not just a car company, but “a neural network” that is improving its driving skills.

Despite Waymo, a subsidiary of Google, having made little progress in expanding its autonomous ride-hailing service, it has recently been crowned the leader in the autonomous vehicle industry, according to Guidehouse Insights’ 2020 rating.

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VW was ranked seventh out of the 18 producers assessed by the analysts. Last year, the German automaker teamed up with Ford to work on e-mobility and self-driving vehicles. VW said that it intends to acquire a stake in the Ford subsidiary Argo AI in order to develop the technology for the US and European markets. 

Tesla came in last, with the report doubting its cars’ full self-driving capability. However, Musk revealed last month that he wanted to significantly expand the autopilot system, offering the feature to more owners.

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