The Best Tech Features in the Volkswagen Golf Mk8
The Volkswagen Golf is arguably one of the most recognizable models in Volkswagen’s lineup. That stature comes with the pressure of standing out in a sea of hatchbacks looking to take some shine away from the famous nameplate. Now that the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf (Mk8) is here, it looks like the competition will have its hands full trying to catch up with the Golf Mk8. See, there are a lot of things to like about the Golf Mk8, but arguably the most important of these things is the incredible amount of new technologies Volkswagen was able to pack into the hatchback. Believe me when I tell you, the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf is so tricked out in new technology, it’s hard to imagine how Volkswagen managed to fit all of them into the hatchback.
Take a Look Back at VW’s Record-Breaking Run Up Pikes Peak: Video
This summer, Volkswagen conquered the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race with their fantastic I.D. R prototype, which was driven by Romain Dumas up the mountain in a record time of 7:57.148, 16 seconds under Sebastien Loeb’s 5-year-old record.
Motorsport is still a relevant marketing tool and battle-scarred Volkswagen decided the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the perfect place to showcase its electric technology. The race, which has been going since 1916, sees competitors climb up the 12.42-mile-long course all the way to 14,000 feet. Nowadays, there’s no more dirt at Pikes Peak, but that doesn’t make the challenge itself any less daunting.
Volkswagen and Microsoft Team-Up For Cloud Connectivity
Technology is evolving at an insane pace in the automotive world. With some new tech added to our cars literally every day, it’s no more a buy-off-the-counter scene for automakers. That is one of the many reasons why automakers and technology companies are collaborating, the latest of which are Volkswagen and Microsoft.
Volkswagen’s Looks to Build Automated Systems with Virtual Test Drives
Volkswagen breaks new ground with its foray into the virtual world as an avenue to test its new driver assistance systems faster while also reducing expenses. Is it a double-edged sword, though?
As automakers worldwide make leaps and bounds towards a brave new world of automation, green energy and efficiency, German manufacturer Volkswagen set about trying a new way of testing its driver assistance systems that will be part of the new I.D. lineup of vehicles. Lengthy real-world tests where prototypes are taken out on the open road or on test facilities will be a thing of the past, thinks Volkswagen, who wants to replace all of that with virtual simulations. They should, in theory, be programmed to feature as many scenarios as needed to get the systems through their testing phases.
The process to move testing from the real-world to a computer-generated virtual one is complicated, but Volkswagen is already trying out the idea with virtual parking simulations where all the parameters can be altered to suit the needs of those conducting the experiments. This all sounds great, but can computer-generated simulations, regardless of computing power and intricacy, really provide the same randomness that actual testing on the open road gives? Will cars that go on sale with systems that went through virtual testing be as well prepared as those that had a bigger chunk of their testing done on the roads? Volkswagen did not officially say they plan to eliminate real testing from the procedure of introducing new driving assistance systems, so we have to wait and see.
Read on to learn more about Volkswagen’s new virtual testing and more
Volkswagen’s Mass-Produced 3D Parts Will Open Doors Never Thought Possible for OE Customization
Additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing, is usually utilized for the rapid production of prototypes and specialty parts. Now, however, Volkswagen claims a breakthrough development has readied this cutting-edge technology for mass production, opening up a slew of customer customization opportunities.
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After Being Denied by Mercedes and BMW in Self-Driving Car Scheme; Apple Lowers Expectations and Signs with Volkswagen
For a while now the word has been that Apple dropped the idea of building its own self-driving car in order to develop software that it could license to other companies. Of course, that’s a hard pill to swallow considering the stance it takes will all of its software and it’s hardware exclusivity. Now, word has it that Apple has joined forces with Volkswagen which includes a deal to turn some of VW’s T6 Transport vans into self-driving pods to haul around Apple employees.
Volkswagen Considering Battery Swapping in China But Says No Way Jose to the United States
In theory, battery-swapping is a good way for electric vehicles to remain on the road longer. Depleted battery packs can be removed in favor of a fully charged replacement, and EV owners won’t have to worry as much about the amount of range they have left in the batteries. The whole process is quicker than charging a depleted battery and the process of replacing and installing sounds easy, or so it seems. Reality, however, paints an entirely different picture. Battery-swapping comes with a much more complicated procedure behind it, so much so that Volkswagen has no intention of offering the technology in the U.S. or any other market in the world. The only potential exception? China.
Volkswagen To Spend Some Serious Cheddar On EVs And Self-Drivers
Volkswagen is pushing hard to establish itself as a major player in several forward-looking technologies, namely electric vehicles, hybrids, and self-driving vehicles. It was recently announced that Volkswagen’s supervisory board approved $40 billion to develop EV, hybrid, and autonomous tech through 2022.
Volkswagen Previews Next-Generation Infotainment System at 2017 CES
While the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, the year’s first important car show, is almost upon us, a few automakers joined the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to preview some of their future technology. Volkswagen is one of them, with the German carmaker having joined the show with a special that previews the future of infotainment systems.
Built around a new digital platform called Ecosystem that will manage all mobility and infotainment services, this special app, which is free on Apple and Android devices, will enable CES visitors to experience "how human, car, and environment will, in the future, be intelligently interconnected in the Volkswagen Ecosystem via the Volkswagen User-ID."
Specifically, visitors can use the app to create their own profile (a Volkswagen User-ID set up for the show), which includes new, innovative functions. At the individual user stations, they can quickly and easily input and configure the settings of their personal ID, including selecting a favorite ambient light setting. Users can also integrate any services from third-party sources and port them wherever they wish, as well as program the car to prepare their favorite music, configure the display screen, and make the right seat adjustments.
What this means is that your personal setting will be remembered and made available across all VW products using the Ecosystem. If at some point you have to drive someone else’s Volkswagen, you will be able to import all these setting to make it as comfortable as your own. When the car returns to its owner, he can reconfigure all setting at the push of a button. That’s pretty sweet and indeed a new user experience.
There’s no word as to when the Volkswagen Ecosystem will be launched for production models, but it shouldn’t take too long to be implemented judging by how fast automotive technology evolves nowadays. I’d say that we may see it in action in 2018.
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Volkswagen Patents Autonomous Driving Technology With Manual Control Options
The recent rise of autonomous driving technology has provided automakers the chance to conjure up new and exciting self-driving technologies in order to make first impressions in the burgeoning segment. Some companies have hunkered down to develop software systems while others have gotten into partnerships to accelerate their own development of the tech. Then there’s Volkswagen, which recently took the first step in developing a technology that allows drivers to configure a car’s automatic drive setup without having to disengage the self-driving mode altogether.
The German automaker filed the patent application in Germany with the main feature being a touch-sensitive control situated at the top of the gear shifter knob. The driver can use the control to manipulate certain automatic drive settings that the car will abide by. For instance, in times where the system detects a situation that needs input from the driver, it presents multiple options on how the driver would want to proceed. These could include speeding up to pass a slow-moving vehicle ahead or queueing behind the vehicle and remaining in the lane. The system recognizes when an option has been chosen through specific hand gestures. Taking from the same example, a driver could swipe horizontally to signal the system to pass the vehicle ahead or swipe vertically if he wants to remain in the same lane.
The patent also details other unique features about the technology, including a ring of lights around the touch screen device that changes hues depending on the urgency of making a decision. A blue hue, for example, could mean that there’s still ample time to make a decision on what the autonomous technology should do and a red hue could mean that a decision has to be made as soon as possible lest the system disengages its self-driving capabilities. There’s also a separate feature located on the gear shifter knob itself, which appears to suggest a feature that allows a driver to disengage the self-driving feature by pressing a button on top of the knob.
The technology isn’t expected to be included in Volkswagen models anytime soon. Since it’s still in the application phase, VW has yet to get a patent over the technology and even if it does receive the green light from the European Patent Office, there’s no telling how quickly the German automaker can develop the technology for actual production use. That said, the patent does highlight the steps VW is making to get ahead of the autonomous driving technology curb.
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German manufacturers Volkswagen and BMW joined forces with the California-based ChargePoint Inc. to expand the electric-vehicle infrastructure throughout the U.S., and this blitzkrieg has borne fruit in the form of two new major EV charging networks within two of the most heavily traveled corridors on the East and West coast.
The Express Charging Corridors Initiative announced on the 13th of September, 2016, the addition of 95 new public charging stations meant to support EV travel from Portland, Oregon to San Diego, California, out West and from Boston, Massachusetts, to Washington, D.C., down East. These are DC, fast-charge stations set at 50-mile increments along the main highway with additional stations on the branches that feed traffic to the local places-to-be-and-see, so suddenly EV touring is a thing.
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If Your Volkswagen was Built After 1995, It can be Hacked
Volkswagen has been in the news a lot lately after the whole emissions scandal come to light, but today, Volkswagen is in the news for something different, this time joining the ranks of Jeep and its hacking problem. As it turns out, more than 100 million Volkswagen vehicles are extremely vulnerable to hacking. And, don’t think this is limited to cars just a few models old. If your VW is from the 1995 model year or newer, it’s at risk. The worst part is: You’ll help the hacker break in and won’t even know it. So, how does this work?
It’s actually really simple and takes nothing more than a reasonably affordable transmitter and receiver. According to Wired. the researchers who uncovered this vulnerability at the University of Birmingham used something called an Arduino radio device that costs about $40. Remember that scene from “Gone in 60 Seconds” when the team of car thieves captured the signal from a remote garage door opener? Well, this hack works kind of like that. A hack sits within close proximity to your Volkswagen and waits for you to remotely unlock it. When you do, the device receives the signal. Hackers can then combine this with a cryptographic key to clone the signal and use it later to unlock the car. That’s not it, however. It does get worse.
Right away, you’re probably thinking that that cryptographic key is hard to come by right? Wrong. In fact, VW uses just a handful of keys across its entire lineup of brands under its umbrella, including brands like Audi, Bentley, Porsche, and Seat, among others. What’s more is that if the car is equipped with keyless ignition, a second exploit that has been uncovered previously can then be used to start the car and drive away once it has been unlocked.
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EV Cars, Autonomous Technology Highlight Volkswagen’s New Long-Term Strategy
Volkswagen CEO Matthias Muller calls it the “biggest change process in Volkswagen’s history” and, from the scope of the company’s “TOGETHER - Strategy 2025,” the words "biggest change process" might be understating it a little. There are a number of items in the new long-term strategy that stand out, with two of the most significant involving electrification and autonomous driving technology.
According to Volkswagen, electric vehicles will be a huge part of its brand moving forward. It’s even set an objective to launch more than 30 new electric cars by 2025 as part of a bigger goal to sell two to three million EVs on an annual basis. The company’s target is important to take note of because if Volkswagen is successful in reaching its goal, it would represent close to a quarter of its total sales volume.
An equally bold plan is being laid out for autonomous driving technology, which Volkswagen described as another “key issue” in the transformation of its core business. Fitting its status as one of the world’s biggest automakers, VW plans to have autonomous driving vehicles for all relevant segments, and it will pursue this goal by developing an in-house autonomous driving system with a goal of hitting the market at the start of the next decade. This plan calls for investments in the technology that will cost VW billions, and even though it’s still struggling with the fallout from the emissions cheating scandal, it’s still well-equipped to handle the massive costs of going all-in on autonomous driving technology.
Far less ambitious and something for the short term is the automotive giant’s plan to fit its existing gasoline engines with a particulate filter that’s designed to cut particulate emissions by as much as 90 percent. Beginning in June 2017, the Audi A5 and the Volkswagen Tiguan will be the first models to receive the filter. In the long term, Volkswagen plans to use this technology on around seven million units sold annually by 2022.
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Gesture controls could soon be available for Volkswagen models after the German automaker proudly showcased the latest iteration of the technology at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. If you recall, Volkswagen used last year’s event to introduce the Golf R Touch concept car, the first production-based VW to feature a gesture control system. After a year’s worth of developing the tech, VW returned to CES with a more advanced presentation of the intuitive control technology, complete with an early series-production preview of the system that could make its way into production models sooner than later.
The tech, housed inside the e-Golf Touch concept, features the latest version of the Modular Infotainment Toolkit (MIB). The system is housed a 9.2-inch high-resolution, 1280x640-pixel display that itself is embedded in a clear glass surface. Inside the display is a home screen measuring 8.2 inches wide and 4.1 inches high and includes two configurable tiles that can be assigned with a swath of different functions. Since these tiles are configurable, a driver can choose any of 10 different functions, including media or phone functions. The system is also compatible with Volkswagen’s own MirrorLink phone pairing system, as well as Apple Car Play or Android Auto, two smartphone integration platforms that a lot of automakers are rushing to add into their own connectivity systems. It’s still unclear as to what kind of gestures will be available on the new infotainment system, but with the advancements VW has made on the technology since its concept debut in 2015, it’s looking more and more likely that we’ll be seeing gesture controls in VW production models in the near future.
As awesome as that sounds, it’s not the only feature that Volkswagen showcased at CES 2016 that can be considered as “on the horizon”. Some items, like wireless charging, aren’t really that revolutionary, but still interesting given that it’s going to be applied into a car. That said, VW also showed a nifty new trick with this tech: the ability to wirelessly charge using the rear armrests.
Other than that, there’s also electronic voice amplification and “Personalization 2.0”, a new feature that allows drivers to keep track of their personal settings in the cloud, thus allowing them to access these settings even if they’re in another VW car. An account needs to be setup in the he Volkswagen Car-Net system for this work, but it should be mighty useful, especially for those who have more than one Volkswagen in their garage.
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