Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) will soon start offering test rides to passengers in Europe using self-driving prototypes based on the ID. Buzz electric van.

Operated by ride-sharing provider MOIA, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, the current fleet of self-driving prototypes features the same AD technology used in the identical ID. Buzz prototypes currently being tested in North America.

VWCV will be carrying out tests on public roads and at the test site in Munich, Germany, to study as many traffic scenarios as possible. The self-driving Volkswagen ID. Buzz AD (Autonomous Driving) will be hitting the road for the first time over the next few weeks, offering rides to politicians, public authorities, businesspeople, and media representatives.

They will get an idea of the vehicle's control capabilities as part of a test programme that has also launched in parallel in Austin, Texas.

Volkswagen says the AD vehicle development process is focused on the vehicle's commercial use in urban centres in Europe and North America, both for ride-sharing schemes and transport services.

Gallery: Volkswagen ID. Buzz AD prototype in Austin, Texas

"Expanding our autonomous vehicle program to North America is the next step in our global strategic roadmap and the result of a long-term investment. This will help us to test, validate and refine the technology on American roads as well."

Christian Senger, member of the Board of Management responsible for development of autonomous driving at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

The all-electric ID. Buzz vehicles are equipped with a self-driving system from tech company Mobileye. Each of the vehicles, which are classified as Level 4 vehicles according to the SAE standard), is equipped with cameras, radar, and lidar technology. 

The test fleet will be used to collect data on miles driven in a variety of driving scenarios. The Volkswagen ID. Buzz AD offers space for four passengers and can be produced in large quantities once it is ready for series production. During the test phase, all vehicles will have supervising human drivers inside at all times.

Interestingly, the automaker has different strategies with its autonomous electric van in North America and Europe. While in Germany MOIA will be the first to use the ID. Buzz AD, in the US Volkswagen will not operate autonomous driving services itself in the future, leaving that to external companies from the mobility and transport sector.