At the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show the automaker introduced prototypes of vehicles with futuristic features such as driverless cars and interactive features.
As Volkswagen’s emissions scandal investigation proceeds, the company is rolling out new technology for its future passenger cars, including driverless cars and automatic parking. They have released a prototype of an electronic van called BUDD-e, which claims a range of 280 miles on a single charge, and charges up to 80 percent in 30 minutes.
They also demonstrated the new e-Golf Touch, with an “infotainment system” that responds to hand gestures and voice commands, a feature company executives say will be available on some of their cars within 12 months.
The showstopper, however, was the BUDD-e. The first notable difference from traditional cars would likely be the lack of door handles. A wave of the hand or a voice command opens the door. There are also connections between the car and various devices.
Herbert Diess, chairman of Volkswagen’s board of management, demonstrated how drivers of the not-so-distant future will interact with their passenger vehicle. He asked the car to tell him if he had enough beer in his refrigerator for a party, and a video image appeared showing an empty fridge. He next responded to two men ringing his doorbell by opening the front door. The van can also be programmed to accept packages, which a delivery person could place in a space that appears when the rear bumper slides open.
Diess says BUDD-e “could be a reality by the end of a decade.”
On Wednesday, Volkswagen announced that it has formed a strategic partnership with Mobileye, a company that creates real-time image-processing cameras, with the goal of installing them on future VW cars so that they can gather data on roads. The data will be used to create maps that will form the basis for driverless cars.
At the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas Diess stated that the new world will be defined by automated driving, which will become an “everyday feature of our life” that will “completely change mobility.”
In August Volkswagen purchased Nokia’s HERE mapping business. The move is an example of growing trends of partnerships between automakers and technology firms.
The company is still working to shift attention from scandal to technology, but the emissions issue is still under scrutiny from U.S. attorneys general. Diess said that Volkswagen is working on a “comprehensive plan” to bring 500,000 vehicles into compliance with U.S. emissions standards.
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