VW Is Still Betting on Level 4 Automated Driving, with ID. Buzz

a yellow car on a road
VW Is Still Betting on Level 4 Automated DrivingVolkswagen
  • VW and Mobileye are working on autonomous versions of the ID. Buzz electric van that will be part of a ride-pooling service starting in 2026.

  • The Level 4 version of the ID. Buzz will be equipped with 13 cameras, nine lidar units, five radars, and two independent high-performance computers.

  • VW and Ford have previously backed autonomous tech developer Argo AI, which closed down in 2022 after the two automakers pulled funding.

Volkswagen is teaming up with autonomous tech developer Mobileye to provide software and hardware for a version of its electric minivan dubbed the ID. Buzz AD, which of course stands for autonomous driving.


The aim is to build variants of the ID. Buzz featuring SAE Level 4 tech, analogous to robotaxis, or what VW now calls a "self-driving system." And VW plans to use it for transport and mobility services starting in 2026.

The automaker has already been testing ID. Buzz models equipped with Mobileye tech since July 2023.

"We are developing the first fully autonomous large-scale production vehicle, and Mobileye brings its digital driver on board," said Christian Senger, member of the Board of Management at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, responsible for Autonomous Driving.

The hardware suite bound for the ID. Buzz AD appears to be pretty heavy on sensors: 13 cameras, 9 lidar units, 5 radar units, and two independent high-performance computers. The vehicles will also feature a constant online connection to cloud computers.

And depending on the expansion level, the hardware and software suites are designed to be modular, offering Level 2+ through Level 4.

You might recall that VW has been operating a ride-pooling service in Hamburg, Germany, dubbed MOIA. Eventually, this ride-pooling service is expected to transform into driverless, Level 4 vans.

But VW also envisions package delivery by Level 4 vehicles.

"The logistics market has grown significantly in recent years due to the increasing share of e-commerce," the automaker notes. "Delivery capacity is already one of the biggest challenges the industry is facing due to the driver shortage. Autonomous transport will therefore be a possible solution to ensure long-term delivery capability and participate in market growth."

The robotaxi industry in the US may have certainly seen a number of setbacks over the past few months, and to some extent this has affected the plans of automakers in Europe as well.

Until late 2022 VW and Ford had relied on autonomous tech startup Argo AI, which was expected to provide the software for the MOIA ride-pooling service starting in 2025. Argo AI abruptly shut down in October 2022 when both automakers stopped funding the company, with some of the Level 2 and Level 3 driver-assist tech being folded into Ford's research.

The funding for the startup was cut amid mounting concerns that Level 4 was unattainable in the short term, and in a way that would permit commercial operations relatively soon.

Quite a lot of money had been spent by the two automakers on Argo AI even by 2022, with Level 4 remaining uncertain both from a technological as well as from a regulatory point of view—at least in the US, in the eyes of Ford.

"The aim of Volkswagen ADMT GmbH is to develop the fully electric autonomous ID. Buzz AD for the use in mobility and transport services from 2026," the automaker said.

VW, now with Mobileye tech on board, still sees a relatively measured launch time for Level 4 tech in its ID. Buzz, at least for commercial models in Europe, and on a limited level.

But plans for Level 3 and Level 4 models in the US, including for privately owned vehicles, remain far less certain for VW.

Will robotaxis become commonplace this decade, edging out gig economy drivers, or will this tech really arrive in the next decade, if ever? Let us know what you think in the comments below.