RAC Cars News


Volkswagen Has New Technology

By raccars Published

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As the second largest carmaker in the world, there's a huge onus on Volkswagen to implement new automotive technology into its vehicles. The brand takes staying ahead of its rivals very seriously and has been revealing some of the upcoming new high tech wizardry, destined to appear in its cars within the next five years.

The company has an advanced Electric Research Laboratory in California's Silicon Valley, also home to IT giants like Google, Apple and Facebook. VW has been working with these to integrate the most advanced electronic innovation into its cars and to lead rather than follow trends. A major focus development right now are autonomous driving systems, which VW Group engineers claim will be installed in its vehicles within a few years.

Traffic Jam Pilot

Trialled in an Audi A7 as a concept, this could be available from 2016 in the next generation Audi A8. It takes on the role of autonomous driver when the car is travelling in traffic and below 40mph. VW has completed thousands of miles of testing of the system in the USA, which functions via laser sensors and scanners and stereo and ultrasonic cameras. These will work in conjunction with HD maps and will be sophisticated enough to compute the complex algorithms needed for more complex manoeuvres, such as overtaking.

Autonomous parking

Around the same time, the company hopes to offer an autonomous driving system which will operate via smartphones. It should allow drivers to exit their car and allow it to park itself in spaces with just 20cm of tolerance on each side. By operating via a smartphone, the driver can instantly abort the procedure if necesssary.

Steering wheel touchpads

These are still in the early stages at the moment but should allow drivers to perform functions within their cars using only their thumbs. The pads would be mounted on each side of the steering wheel. One development issue is global alphabets - the Latin alphabet works well with the system but syllabaries and logographies used outside the Western world are trickier to implement and require extra research.

Car to car connectivity

The VW Group is working hard to be able to connect cars to each other, so they can co-operate on a range of functions, including traffic reporting. The idea is to improve road safety and ease congestion.

Smart gadgets

This system uses cloud technology to link accessories, including bikes and surfboards, to your car. This allows drivers to track down such items, should they be stolen.

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