Self-driving shuttles to revolutionise Doha’s public transport in 2022


VW and the Qatar Investment Authority signed ‘Project Qatar Mobility’ to develop self-driving Level 4 electric vehicle shuttles in Doha

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 – even beyond 2022.

Fostering a cross-brand collaboration as blueprint for future AD solutions, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania, MOIA and AID-Autonomous Intelligent Driving will play an important role in this project.

VW MICROVAN EXTERIOR (PRNewsfoto/Qatar Investment Authority (QIA))

During the largest sporting event in the world, Qatar will thus be the venue for the world’s first emission-free, electric and autonomous public transport system.

The agreement was signed by QIA CEO Mr Mansoor Al-Mahmoud and Dr Herbert Diess, Chairman of Volkswagen Group, at a ceremony held in Doha.

VW CEO Dr. Herbert Diess and QIA CEO Mr. Mansoor Bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud (PRNewsfoto/Qatar Investment Authority)

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 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 will work together on such a project of urban mobility.

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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.”

Within the Volkswagen Group, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) is responsible for Autonomous Driving, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and Transport as a Service (TaaS), due to the fact that first use cases are planned in the commercial sector. In future, VWCV will develop and produce corresponding Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV), such as robo-taxis and robo-vans.

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.”