Volkswagen of America has just announced its new Car-Net app platform that enables Apple Watch users to control a variety of functions on several VW passenger cars. The free app is currently available for download at the iTunes App Store, and promises “enhanced connectivity on the go.”

Functionality includes controls for both safety and convenience. Users can remotely lock and unlock the doors, as well as view the status of the doors, windows and sun roof to see whether they are open or closed. There’s a locater function that enables users to pinpoint their cars in a crowded parking lot, with the app providing walking or driving directions if needed. The app also provides the ability to honk the horn or flash the headlights remotely for easier location. Alert notifications can be sent for excess speed or boundary crossing if certain parameters are set.

Owners of VW vehicles with either gas or diesel engines can check fuel levels, while those driving the all-electric 2015 e-Golf can check current battery charge, view estimated driving range, turn charging on or off, and adjust the climate control.

Car-Net is currently available for select trim levels of the 2014 and later Beetle, CC, Eos, Jetta, Passat and Tiguan. All trim levels of the 2015 and later Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen and e-Golf are also supported.

You can find more information here.

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Why it matters

Volkswagen Launches Car-Net App For Apple Watch
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We are quickly approaching a time when platforms will find integration far beyond the singular application, unifying disparate lifestyle elements into a single cohesive product.

What I’m talking about is a single app to control your car, house, laptop, television, toaster, and Roomba, all in the name of convenience. The car industry is hot on this sort of thing, and as autonomous features grow more prevalent, so too will apps like VW’s Car-Net.

Here’s what Volkswagen has to say about it: “These high-tech features, available through the Car-Net app for Apple Watch, are paving the way to Volkswagen’s future of connected vehicles,” said Abdallah Shanti, Executive Vice President and Group Chief Information Officer for Region Americas. “As a part of Volkswagen’s Digital Vehicle Management Platform, this was a truly collaborative effort between our Technical Development and Group IT teams.”

Every year, the big tech shows demonstrate just how quickly an uber-connected future is coming down the pipeline. In-car entertainment has transformed into infotainment, and the cars are learning how to drive on their own. Device integration is an expected feature as important as horsepower or mileage for most passenger vehicles.

This trend, however, goes far beyond uploading a playlist to your car’s stereo. Energy solutions are a hot topic right now, and Tesla is offering at-home battery solutions, while BMW has teased similar concepts in the past. I’m imagining a world where you start your VW car with your VW app, which is charged from your VW battery with electricity sourced from the all-inclusive VW at-home solar panel package (a pricey extra on the option list, but worth it if utility prices are steep in your area).

What’s next? Corporate currencies that compete with the dollar for greater efficiency? Would you take the VW highway down to the VW supermarket to buy your VW vegetables?

I seem to have gotten off on a tangent, but the point remains: apps like Car-Net are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cross-platform integration.

As for whether it’s good or bad, well, that’s a topic worthy of a standalone article.

Press Release

Volkswagen of America, Inc., is excited to announce that VW’s Car-Net® platform will enable Apple Watch functionality for many new Volkswagen vehicles. The Apple Watch app will be available globally on all VW Car-Net® enabled vehicles allowing for enhanced connectivity on the go.

Volkswagen Launches Car-Net App For Apple Watch
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“These high-tech features, available through the Car-Net® app for Apple Watch, are paving the way to Volkswagen’s future of connected vehicles,” said Abdallah Shanti, Executive Vice President and Group Chief Information Officer for Region Americas. “As a part of Volkswagen’s Digital Vehicle Management Platform, this was a truly collaborative effort between our Technical Development and Group IT teams.”

The Car-Net® app for Apple Watch will allow VW customers to control a host of features and functions that are available through the Car-Net mobile app and Customer Web Portal directly from their wrist. Owners can keep an eye on their vehicle from afar, remotely locking* and unlocking doors and viewing the status of doors, windows and sun roof (open or closed). Finding a parked vehicle is a snap, with a map of the current vehicle location, walking or driving directions to the vehicle and the ability to honk the horn and flash the lights remotely. Customers can also receive speed and boundary alert notifications to monitor certain drivers in their households.

Drivers of Volkswagen vehicles with gasoline and TDI® Clean Diesel engines may remotely check their fuel level, while those driving the all-electric e-Golf will be able to check their current charge and estimated driving range, turn charging on or off and access climate control features.

VW Car-Net® is available on select trims of 2014 and later Beetle, CC, Eos, Jetta, Passat and Tiguan models and on all trims of 2015 and later Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen and e-Golf models. For additional details, go to www.vw.com/features/vw-car-net/.

Car-Net for Apple Watch will be available in the App Store for Apple Watch, found in the Apple Watch app on iPhone®.

Volkswagen is committed to driving the development of more connected and intelligent vehicles. The VW Car-Net® integration with Apple Watch adds to the recent announcement made at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, introducing the second-generation “modular infotainment platform” (MIB II) which will feature advanced app and smartphone integration. Along with the new infotainment system, MirrorLink™ will integrate the apps and operating layout of numerous smartphones (including Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony) into cars. When MirrorLink™ is introduced, two other interfaces will also be launched under the App-Connect label: Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ (Google®).

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