Autonom fahrendes Fahrzeug "Cedric"

VW cooperation in robot cars: Volkswagen continues to Aurora with Ford


Autonomous driving is considered a key technology for the future – mainly because it could be used for lucrative Robotaxi services. Volkswagen However, it has now announced the end of its collaboration with the robotic car company Aurora: "The activities under our partnership have been completed," it said. In the development of self-driving cars, the Group is now looking for a cooperation with Ford according to media reports.

Founded in 2016, Silicon Valley start-up Aurora develops software for self-driving cars. Together with VW wanted it "Mobility for everyone at the touch of a button "
, Aurora had bought $ 530 million from investors in February. The money should accelerate the development of the technology. On Monday, Aurora partnered to develop self-driving commercial vehicles with the VW competitors Fiat Chrysler known.

VW is now focused on the co-development of self-driving cars with Ford, wrote the Financial Times and financial services Bloomberg. For some time it was reported that Volkswagen wanted to participate in Ford's robot car company Argo AI. It was an Argo valuation of about four billion dollars have been discussed, it was at Bloomberg. VW and Ford had already agreed on the joint development, inter alia, Vans.

Aurora was founded, among others, by the former chief developer of the Google robot cars, Chris Urmson, and by Sterling Anderson, who was once responsible for the autopilot system at Tesla. Among the donors are the well-known venture capitalist Sequoia and also Amazon.

The Google sister company Waymo, which is gathering initial experience with a Robotaxi fleet in Arizona, is considered particularly far-reaching in the development of robot car technology. Ford rival General Motors plans its own service with technology from the acquired start-up Cruise. The caretaker mediator Over also develops robot cart technology. And Apple is working on software for autonomous driving.

900 million euros for joint battery activity with Northvolt

Except for the control VW also wants to convert in terms of drive. By 2023, the company intends to invest € 30 billion in its e-car initiative – and is now joining the Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt. VW invest about 900 million euros in joint battery activities with the company, said VW. Volkswagen will initially take over 20 percent and wants to start a joint venture with Northvolt for the planned battery cell production in Lower Saxony. Part of the money will go directly to the joint venture, another part to Northvolt.

However, according to experts, the electrification of cars could cost thousands of jobs, according to experts. According to the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), there are just under 114,000 jobs net get lostEven if the share of electric cars by 2035 only rises to 23 percent. A study by e-mobil, an innovation agency of the state of Baden-Württemberg, therefore pleads for a slower transition to electric cars,

In April, Volkswagen announced that it was planning to invest around one billion euros with Northvolt in a joint battery cell plant in Salzgitter. The work should be set up at the earliest from 2020, provided the general conditions are right. Meanwhile, Northvolt announced that it had raised about $ 1 billion through a capital increase.

Battery cell production is energy intensive, the production in Lower Saxony should therefore be freed in the words of the Lower Saxony Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) from the surcharge to promote renewable energy (EEG). At the beginning of 2024, cell production for Volkswagen will start.

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