A fleet of self-driving Volkswagen Group vehicles will hit the streets of Doha, Qatar, during the next FIFA World Cup, which is scheduled to run from November 21 to December 18, 2022.
The fleet will be made up of 35 electric vehicles including buses from VW Group-owned Scania and minivans based on 2017's Volkswagen ID Buzz concept, which is confirmed to spawn a spiritual successor to the iconic Microbus around 2022.
For the FIFA World Cup, one of the biggest sporting events in the world, the vehicles will operate at Level 4 self-driving capability on the SAE scale, which means they'll operate on their own within set conditions, such as within a geofenced area. The automaker mentioned “semi-fixed” routes in Doha's West Bay area during its announcement of the project on Monday.
VW Group is taking a holistic approach in establishing the service, including the creation of an appropriate legal framework. The automaker is also working with officials from Qatar to develop the required physical and digital infrastructure to seamlessly integrate the fleet within the existing transport network in Doha. VW Group will use the lessons learned to develop a blueprint that can be transferred to other cities. A similar project has been launched in Israel and is scheduled to be ready also in 2022.
“We will be experiencing real-world learnings and use the project as a stepping stone—for generations to come,” said Herbert Diess, VW Group's CEO.
Testing of the service will begin in 2020 and the first trials will start as early as 2021 before the project goes public toward the end of 2022. Managing the fleet will be Moia, VW Group's rival to Uber launched in 2016.