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Volkswagen AG's €1.4b investment

Volkswagen AG will be investing 1.4 billion euros into electric vehicles, cloud software and autonomous systems.

The company have announced plans to plough the hefty amount of money into their development of these systems, focusing on battery-powered commercial vehicles.

Speaking in Hamburg, Andreas Renschler, head of the Volkswagen Truck & Bus division, said: "We believe in a wide range of alternative powertrains and fuels, depending on local availability, social and local demand and customer requirements. Therefore it is crucial that policy makers adopt a technology-neutral approach [in any regulations] ...

"With city buses, we are just hitting the break-even point compared to conventional solutions. Electric distribution trucks are expected to turn positive in 2020-25 ... The autonomous Scania mining truck standing outside of this building is ready to be shipped to the first customer overseas after this event. This truck is not a vision. It's real stuff, here and now."

When the Scania mining truck was announced, Lars Hjorth revealed mines were particularly "well suited to self-driving vehicles".

Lars Hjorth, responsible for pre-development within autonomous transport solutions at Scania, said: "Mines are environments that are especially well suited to self-driving vehicles. The area is contained and the operator can control what equipment or personnel are working in the area.

"A truck solution is more cost effective, with the total cost per transported tonne being significantly lower. The infrastructure costs are also reduced as trucks don't require specially reinforced roads. Now the possibility is opening up to do the same thing with trucks, which could push the mining industry's costs down even further.

"Self-driving mining trucks could become a reality within a few years and the impetus and potential is here today. The next step could be self-driving container trucks in ports. And after that the technology will also come to the long haul transport sector, with self-driving vehicles driving between large transport centres where their cargoes are then loaded into last mile delivery trucks."

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