The Qatar Investment Authority and Volkswagen AG have announced a pioneering autonomous, electric transport initiative to transform urban mobility in Qatar. As part of this project prototypes of ID. BUZZ AD shuttles from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and of Scania buses will operate with zero emissions.
The goal is to develop a ground-breaking autonomous transport project and transform the future of urban mobility to a sustainable and commercial deployment of AD shuttles and Bus Services.
Scania is part of the project that is exploring opportunities for autonomous people transport in the cross-brand collaboration in the Volkswagen Group, together with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, MOIA and AID-Autonomous Intelligent Driving.
QIA and Volkswagen will work together to develop the required physical and digital infrastructure to seamlessly integrate a fleet of self-driving vehicles into Doha’s existing public transport network. Autonomous, electric ID. BUZZ AD from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will shuttle up to 4 passengers in the Westbay area on semi-fixed routes, while high-tech Scania buses pick up larger groups. Volkswagen Group’s units AID and MOIA will provide the SDS knowledge and the app software to run the service. For the first time four Volkswagen Group brands work together on such a project of urban mobility.
Holistic ecosystem for autonomous driving
The landmark project will create a holistic ecosystem for autonomous driving, including the creation of an appropriate legal framework, smart city infrastructure and transfer of knowledge, which can be used as a blueprint to transform urban mobility, both in Qatar and beyond. Closed testing of the shuttle vehicles and buses is expected to begin in 2020 and trials will start as early as 2021. The project will go live during 2022, providing a technical showcase of future autonomous driving.
Dr Herbert Diess, Chairman of Volkswagen, 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.”
A higher degree of sharing is important
Henrik Henriksson, President and CEO of Scania said: “At Scania, our purpose is to drive the shift to sustainable transport. 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.”
Commenting on the announcement, Mr Mansoor Al Mahmoud, CEO of QIA said: “For our cities to progress, we need a new wave of innovation.? AI-enabled, emission-free transportation technologies will help advance urban mobility, while diminishing congestion and improving energy efficiency.
The CEO of QIA added: “We are proud that QIA has been able to partner with Volkswagen to ensure that Qatar is at the forefront of these new technologies. The development of a smart transport solution will help transform the future of urban mobility, both at home and around the world.”