Sustainable mobility and connectivity

Mobility is one of the key conditions for economic growth. The latest challenge is to cater to the growing demand for mobility despite diminishing resources and, in the process, reduce its negative effects on the environment. Holistic mobility concepts have to be efficient, sustainable, customer-oriented and, above all else, designed in such a way that they are accessible anytime and anywhere. We at Volkswagen are researching and developing groundbreaking mobility solutions for our customers that will shape the future in this area. We do not limit our focus to automotive mobility, but take in other modes of transport as well and examine structural issues such as urbanization, urban development and the quality of transport infrastructure. We also take account of demand trends, such as the shared use of vehicles. One building block of our future program TOGETHER – Strategy 2025 is the establishment of a cross-brand mobility solutions business. Part of this is the new MOIA business unit, which will develop, participate in or acquire services that are tailored to customer requirements, such as ride hailing services.

Volkswagen is working on a wide range of approaches, from novel vehicle concepts right through to research into innovative urban developments. We are sharing ideas with universities and associations, and presenting potential solutions to the specialized public for discussion. However, these measures can be fully effective only if they are interlinked and deployed in the right place at the right time. They require the efficient interplay of people, technologies, means of transport and infrastructure. With the aid of scientists and tests in model cities, we helped to derive indicators for sustainable mobility in cities within the WBCSD’s Sustainable Mobility Project 2.0. In spring 2016, the European Commission announced that it would actively support the application of these 19 indicators throughout cities. Together with the SEAT brand, Volkswagen Group Research set up the interdisciplinary research platform CARNET (Cooperative Automotive Research Network) in Barcelona. In over 20 joint projects, CARNET is working on concepts for efficient urban mobility, e.g. the SEAT Ateca Smart City Car, which connects with its environment through Smart City Connectivity, or the Barcelona Smart Shuttle.

The connection of vehicles to other vehicles, to the environment, to infrastructure and to mobile devices is advancing and increasing the safety, comfort and driving enjoyment of drivers, passengers and other road users. The latest generation of the Modular Infotainment Toolkit (MIB) has already brought corresponding innovations to numerous models of our Group brands.

Volkswagen has developed a self-learning, context-sensitive, personalized voice command system that can adapt to individual users and situations. We are also constantly refining the gesture control systems we install in our vehicles. Volkswagen’s newest infotainment systems already use a proximity sensor. The new Golf is the first in its class to offer a cockpit with gesture control: without actually touching a screen, it is possible to operate the display and controls in virtual space with hand movements. This represents a clear gain in comfort and safety. Eye tracking is a further refinement of gesture control: the system tracks the driver’s point of gaze, adapting the vehicle to suit the condition of the driver or his/her intended operations and preparing it for critical situations before they occur.

Audi is advancing the development of intelligent networking with the Audi Connect car-to-x services, with new infotainment modules and with high-precision digital maps from HERE. Audi is the first manufacturer to connect its models to the city infrastructure: the “time to green” feature is the world’s first car-to-x service and provides information on the duration of the red light and the optimum speed for the “green wave” directly on the vehicle display.

Scania continued to refine its connected services in 2016. Examples include the fleet management service, which is based on data from 230,000 connected Scania vehicles, or the flexible maintenance program, which ensures that every truck receives exactly the right maintenance based on the actual usage.

Volkswagen Truck & Bus presented the new RIO brand in 2016. This cloud-based, multi-vendor platform serves the entire transport and logistics ecosystem and will be available in the second quarter of 2017. It combines and analyzes diverse data from the logistics value chain, using it to make specific recommendations to customers on how to optimize their transport and reloading processes and thus enhance efficiency and transparency.