Volkswagen Launches Car-Net App For Apple Watch
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.
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Why it matters
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.