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Volkswagen wants new industry standard for autonomous tech

by Justin King

The company is reportedly pitching the industry alliance as a way to share costs and mitigate liability issues.

Volkswagen Group is reportedly pushing to create a broad alliance for autonomous technology, aiming to develop a new industry standard that can be shared between rivals.

The company's sales pitch centers around cost sharing and mitigation of liability when autonomous cars are involved in accidents, according to an Automotive News report citing an unnamed executive familiar with the issue.

"How do you create an industry standard? Ideally by getting others to use the same sensor kit and software, so for that reason an overarching cooperation between automakers is one of the options we are examining," the executive said. "The question is: How do we bring products to market that guarantee we made ourselves as small a target for damage claims as possible?"

The company is apparently aware of the challenges in convincing competitors to join a consortium and manage collaboration between engineering groups from each player. Obviously, automakers that have committed the most development resources to autonomous technology -- and may be ahead of VW in the race -- will be reluctant to sign up.

If VW succeeds, the alliance would focus on developing open-source technology with no restrictions on implementations and shared validation data. The German automaker has reportedly dismissed suppliers' proposals to license "black box" solutions that enable autonomous functions but do not allow automakers to access the core technology.

Volkswagen is said to be involved in discussions with 15 different companies.