Driver assistance systems and automated driving

In 2016, we extended the use of innovative driver assistance systems to further vehicles, systematically pursuing the strategy of making innovations from the luxury vehicle segments available in the volume segments. The gradual expansion of assistance systems and automated driving functions paves the way for autonomous driving and increasingly takes the pressure off the driver. Volkswagen’s aim is to become the leader in this area of innovation.

The new Porsche Panamera is fitted with Porsche InnoDrive including Adaptive Cruise Control. This innovative driver assistance system uses navigation data and radar-video sensors to enhance vehicle efficiency, anticipating and factoring in speed limits, road gradients and the radius of bends. The new Tiguan and the SEAT Ateca are fitted, for example, with the driver assistance systems Traffic Jam Assist, Emergency Assist and Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring and City Emergency Braking. The new Golf with Traffic Jam Assist can drive in a semi-automated manner at speeds of up to 60 km/h thanks to the combination of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Assist.

The new Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert represents another safety gain: when the vehicle is in motion, the sensor warns of any vehicles in the driver's blind spot; when the driver is backing out of a parking spot, the system even recognizes any vehicle or pedestrian approaching from the side near the rear of the vehicle and brakes automatically if there is danger of a collision.

Volkswagen is also working on an online driver assistance system. Users can deploy current or future mobile technologies to enter data in the system, which is then made available to the other online participants. The data in question, which is recorded on extremely detailed maps, can enhance both driving safety and convenience, and includes information on traffic signs and traffic lights, unoccupied parking spaces, or the road surface.

Driver assistance systems and automated driving functions are also gaining ground in heavy commercial vehicles. Scania presented its first studies on self-driving trucks and buses in 2016. A further variant is driving in a convoy, also known as platooning. Still in the development phase, platooning involves two or more trucks driving closely behind one another with the aid of driver assistance and control systems as well as truck-to-truck communication. Platooning not only reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, but also enhances safety and traffic efficiency. MAN and Scania gave an impressive demonstration of this technology at the European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016.

In November 2016, DB Schenker and MAN agreed on their first project devoted to platooning.