‘Drivers, put your feet up … it’s time to hit the road!’

Now more than ever, the spectre of driver fatigue is one that looms large over grey nomads as they embark on the Big Lap.

Ridiculously long distances, relatively few spots to comfortably stop, and the limitations of the human body all combine to elevate road safety risk levels while, at the same time, diminishing enjoyment levels.

For a long time now, self-driving RVs have been talked about but, to the average grey nomad, it has all sounded a bit too far-fetched and a bit too ‘some-time-way-in-the-future’.

Well, the future is now hurling towards the Big Lap a lot faster than many think.

Volkswagen has just announced it is to begin real-world testing of autonomous tech in the upcoming ID Buzz electric van. The vehicles will be fitted with kit from autonomous driving software company Argo AI and this is no publicity stunt. The company says it’s now very much in the business of turning the dream into a reality.

For grey nomads, that means being able to put their feet up and enjoy the view … even if they are ‘behind the wheel’.

Volkswagen says it plans to have autonomous tech installed into production ID Buzz models by 2025.

While VW’s attention is focused on commercial ride-hailing use for now, observers say the ID Buzz is poised to become an instant favourite among camper converters, both commercial brands and DIY home builders.

“The aim is to develop a ride-hailing and pooling concept,” said Christian Senger, VW head of autonomous driving. “In the middle of this decade, our customers will then have the opportunity to be taken to their destination in selected cities with autonomous vehicles.”

And from there … the sky, it seems, is the limit.

  • How would taking the Big Lap in a self-driving motorhome or tow vehicle change – and improve – your trip? Email us here to share your thoughts.
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