2022 FIFA World Cup will feature self-driving Volkswagen electric cars
VW said Qatar will be the maiden country for the technology -- the same year it hosts the soccer competition.
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
The self-driving Volkswagens are coming, but not to the US. At least not yet. VW said on Monday that it plans to put a fleet of self-driving electric vehicles on the road in Qatar in 2022. That, not coincidentally, is the year the Arab country will host the FIFA World Cup.
The technology will operate at Level 4 on the SAE autonomy scale, which will let the car do all the driving, even in the event something goes wrong. Anything under Level 4 and the car needs to be able to hand controls back to the driver.
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Closed tests of the vehicles will begin next year, according to VW, and trials will start in 2021 ahead of the big game. In the meantime, VW is working with local officials to implement the infrastructure, both physical and digital, needed to ensure the vehicles operate as intended.
While this is a big deal, if it happens, the autonomous cars won't be able to go anywhere. Instead, they'll work on "semifixed" routes. Perhaps they'll run from the World Cup stadiums to local hot spots and hotels, for example. No one will be able to flag one and take it on an extended trip, as there will certainly be geofencing at work.