Keeping course

VW presses ahead with self-driving cars, despite Uber crash

main 0201502860 AP – self-driving car accident Uber fatality dead cyclist Tempe Arizona March 18 2018 ABC-15
Source: AP

Volkswagen has no immediate plans to change its projects to produce self-driving cars, chief executive, Matthias Müller said in response a fatal accident involving an Uber car on Sunday in Tempe, Arizona.

“The whole affair is very regrettable,” said Mr. Müller at a press conference held by Porsche SE, the holding which controls VW. “But we should first wait for the investigation’s results and not jump to conclusions prematurely based on the initial reports.”

VW, including its premium brand Audi, and its German peers BMW and Mercedes-Benz, are all experimenting with self-driving cars, but they are not testing the vehicles on public roads as often as their US counterparts. Most projects with driverless passenger cars take place on test tracks.

“Autonomous driving is one of the industry’s biggest challenges. It will take many more years before the cars will truly drive around independently. We as an industry have to familiarize ourselves with this topic step by step,” Mr. Müller said.

Other voices from the industry underlined this complexity.

Klaus Deller, the boss of Knorr-Bremse, the world’s largest maker of brakes, said now people would “realize that making an iPhone is different to putting a self-driving car on the road.”

And he agreed with Mr. Müller that autonomous vehicles should be developed gradually and not at any cost. “We cannot allow ourselves to make any mistakes. Human lives depend on it,” Mr. Deller said.

Stefan Menzel writes about the auto industry focusing on Volkswagen. Markus Fasse specializes in aviation and automobile industry news and works from Handelsblatt’s Munich office. To contact the author: menzel@handelsblatt.com and fasse@handelsblatt.com

We hope you enjoyed this article

Make sure to sign up for our free newsletters too!