Travel Assist is a practical feature in a VW ID. car.

Travel Assist Demo (Non-swarm mode)

Tesla has completely moved to a camera-only non-radar system called Tesla Vision for the Autopilot software in their recent models. Tesla Vision, according to Tesla, deconstructs the car's environment at greater levels of reliability than those achievable with classical vision processing techniques.

Tesla Vision

While this design has several benefits for autonomous driving, owners regularly face Phantom Braking, sudden loss of cruise control, and other issues due to poor visibility and weather conditions that might affect the hardware.

Cloud-based and Crowd-sourced

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is doing the sensible thing by keeping radars (two at the rear), ultrasound, and front cameras to power their Intelligent Driver Assistance Systems. Travel Assist with Swarm Data is an upcoming optional pack in Volkswagen ID. models powered by Mobileeye's Road Experience Management (REM) technology. Tesla was in the past a partner for Mobileeye before walking away to work on Tesla Vision and Tesla AI.

With software 3.0, anonymized cloud-based crowd-sourced data from Volkswagen models augment the onboard camera to deliver lane assistance under complex situations such as roads with only one lane marking or roundabouts. At speeds of over 55 mph on motorways, Travel assist could also offer lane change assistance similar to an Enhanced AutoPilot or FSD software on a Tesla without any phantom braking concern.

What's new in ID. Software 3.0

At present, competing driver assistance systems from BMW and Mercedes do not use such swarm data. Volvo lane-keeping aid would not operate without visible lane markings although they could warn about road conditions with connected safety.

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Volvo connected safety feature

What's the catch?

Swarm data mode requires a reliable internet connection, an active We connect license, and data sharing settings to work. While this may not make the car more autonomous, the cloud data is more likely to increase the availability of Travel Assist on more roads and locations. In contrast, thanks to the onboard cameras and powerful AMD-based local processing, Tesla Autopilot could keep a safe distance from the left lane marking (or right lane marking) even with patchy internet.

Verdict

Our verdict is that the software 3.0 update (available for free over-the-air from Q2 2022) and improvements to Park Assist, HUD, and charging performance would make the ID. models an excellent car for road trips. Whether these thoughtful features could outperform the Tesla Autopilot experience powered by Tesla Vision remains to be seen.