Volkswagen hopes new software will banish accidents by 2050
Volkswagen will launch a new software operating system this year that it hopes will make accidents involving its cars a thing of the past by 2050, the company said on Thursday.
Next generation cars will be equipped with software, sensors and processors that enable vehicles to anticipate and avoid accidents, and to keep learning new reflexes, the German car brand's strategy chief Michael Jost said in Berlin.
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"We want to have no more accidents by 2050," he said.
The new software-based vehicle operating system, which is being launched with Volkswagen's new ID:3 electric car, will be continually updated as software algorithms improve, Jost said.
"How quickly can data and algorithms improve? Our customers should benefit from deep learning every week, and every day. We are moving from being a device company to being a software company," he said.
First generation cars, which are due to go on sale in Europe in the summer, are still being tweaked, said Thomas Ulbrich, the VW brand's board member responsible for electromobility.
"We are not yet at 100%," Ulbrich said about the status of the ID:3's software development. "It is normal that there are still technical tasks to be done shortly before market launch."
The ID:3 will cost from 24,000 euros ($27,000), once green car tax breaks and incentives are included, when it goes on sale in Germany this summer.
That will put it on a par with VW's combustion-engined vehicles, and forms part of a big expansion by the company in electric cars.
The VW brand expects to build 1.5 million electric cars by 2025. Volkswagen Group, whose brands also include Porsche, Audi, Skoda, Bentley and Bugatti, will launch 75 electric cars by 2029 and be capable of building 26 million vehicles.