The idea and goal behind the project is to introduce autonomous shuttle and bus services in Doha, where it would be used to ferry passengers in the Westbay area on semi-fixed routes. There are 35 autonomous ID Buzz vans that will be used to carry up to four people per trip, while Scania buses are expected to ferry larger groups.
These self-driving shuttles and buses are expected to hit the roads before 2022 while closed testing is expected to start in 2020, while larger scale trials should commence in 2021. According to Herbert Diess, Chairman of Volkswagen, “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.”
That being said, Volkswagen won’t be the first to introduce self-driving shuttles. There are already several such services that are active in various parts of the world, but it looks like it’s starting to gain in popularity.