Today, the Volkswagen Group and leading self-driving technology company, Aurora, announced a strategic partnership that brings the two companies together to bring self-driving electric vehicles to cities as Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) fleets.
The Volkswagen Group defined its goal of becoming a global leader in autonomous driving with its dedicated Self-Driving System (SDS) in its future program "TOGETHER – Strategy 2025". This strategic direction builds on a long tradition for the Volkswagen Group as a leader in the fields of automated vehicle and advanced mobility technologies. In 2005, a Volkswagen Electronics Research Lab-Stanford University team claimed victory at the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, which is widely considered the dawn of the automated vehicle era.
Chief Digital Officer Johann Jungwirth: "Our vision is ‘Mobility for all, at the push of a button'. This means that we want to offer mobility for all people around the world. Mobility also for children, elderly, sick and visually impaired people, really for all. ‘At the push of a button' stands for simplicity and the easiness of use. In the future people can of course use our mobility app or digital virtual assistant to hail a self-driving electric vehicle to drive them conveniently door-to-door, or use our Volkswagen OneButton which has GPS, connectivity and a compass, as a small beautiful key fob with maximum convenience. Working with Aurora, leading self-driving system company, will give us a giant leap forward in our mission to become the world's leading provider of sustainable mobility, with self-driving vehicles. Our aim is to create new Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) solutions which customers will be really passionate about because they have been tailored to the human with highest safety standards, best-in-class user experience and digital intelligence. For me this is the reinvention of mobility and the automobile."
Self-driving technology is set to become the centerpiece of future personal mobility. The collaboration with Aurora will provide valuable experience with the world-class engineering team to the ongoing development of software and hardware for driverless vehicles, and, additionally, mobility services for urban and rural areas. Thereby the Volkswagen Group is stepping up the pace. As the Self-Driving System (SDS) reaches the required maturity and safety levels in the first cities, it can be integrated across the Group brands, for different product categories: from fully self-driving pods like SEDRIC, shuttles or delivery vans to self-driving trucks without a cabin.
Over the past six months, specialists from the Volkswagen Group and Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab (VAIL) at Stanford University have already been working intensively with experts from Aurora to integrate Aurora's self-driving system including sensors, hardware and software, such as Machine Learning and AI technology in Volkswagen Group's vehicle platforms. With the customer experience at the center of this technology development, the Volkswagen Group is focused on creating new solutions tailored to the best-in-class user experience with a focus on safety, convenience and usability. Cities need such smart mobility solutions to solve their traffic, pollution and traffic safety challenges.
Chris Urmson, CEO of Aurora: "Our priority at Aurora is to make self-driving cars a reality quickly, broadly and safely, and we know we will get there faster by partnering with innovative automakers like the Volkswagen Group. This partnership establishes a deep collaboration using Aurora's selfdriving technology, and together we will bring self-driving vehicles to market at scale."
Based in Palo Alto, CA, and Pittsburgh, PA, Aurora designs and builds selfdriving technology, partnering with automakers to integrate, pilot and deploy advanced self-driving platforms into vehicles. Founded by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chris Urmson, Chief Product Officer (CPO) Sterling Anderson and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Drew Bagnell, Aurora is working to solve today's most complex AI, automation and engineering challenges to improve transportation and positively impact our cities.