Audi to lose key AV project in VW Group’s new software strategy

Volkswagen Group’s Audi brand will lose a key autonomous vehicle project under a new software strategy that aims to make the group’s proprietary software competitive and market-ready by the end of the decade.

Audi‘s Artemis project, which aimed to develop a Level 4 fuly self-driving electric car by 2024, has shown little progress amid delays in creating advanced new software at VW Group’s Cariad unit.

VW Group CEO Oliver Blume is expected to scrap the Artemis project under a revamped software roadmap that he will present at a supervisory board meeting on Dec.15.

VW Group’s commercial vehicles unit will be the first of the group’s brands to launch autonomous vehicles, using Cariad-developed self-driving software. The unit is testing a fleet of ID Buzz self-driving electric minivans in Israel as part of its partnership with Mobileye, according to Automobilwoche sources.

Audi will still aim to launch self-driving cars in the second half of the decade but there is no fixed timeframe.

Under the new roadmap, VW Group’s 1.1 and 1.2 software platforms will continue to be developed, with the 1.2 platform renamed “Software Premium” and made ready for Audi and Porsche to use by the end of the decade, German business daily Handelsblatt reported. The group’s mass-market brands will use the 1.1 software platform.

A new, Porsche-developed vehicle architecture called SSP61 will be launched in 2026 for VW Group premium brands. It will underpin an electric Porsche Panamera and Audi’s new electric flagships developed under Artemis codenamed Landjet and Landyacht.

Porsche also will use the SSP61 platform for a range-topping, full-electric SUV positioned above the Cayenne and Macan. SSP61 will be a sportier version of the SSP (Scalable Systems Platform) announced by VW Group last year.

The new vehicles will use the 1.2 software platform, without hands-off autonomous driving functions, company sources said. A more advanced 2.0 software system may be added later but not before 2028. VW brand’s Trinity flagship electric car will also get 2.0 software. It is likely to be launched as a crossover instead of a sedan, sources said.

VW Group’s supervisory board called in May for management to present a roadmap for Cariad after multiple years of delays to planned new software iterations and overspending.

Cariad is a core part of VW Group‘s plans to catch up with Tesla in the coming years, but the subsidiary has been wrestling with difficulties, causing important projects to fall behind schedule and delays for key Porsche and Audi models.

Reuters contributed to this report

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