A focus on people. "The van concept’s design places people at the center of focus; it should appeal to them and invite them to come in," is how Klaus Bischoff describes it. Awaiting them is an interior that combines the world of the automobile with the atmosphere of a lounge space. Tomasz Bachorski, Head of Interior Design of the Volkswagen brand, explains the next development phase for the interior: "From now on, we will be enhancing the vehicle’s connectivity much more intensively to make it more interactive and to liven up this space that is shared by friends and family. The interior will become a sort of living room. A mobile place to feel at home in. And this is exactly where we are going with the overall interior concept." That is why there are no longer any traditional instruments or controls, for instance; employed in their place is an intuitively operated alliance consisting of the:
- Touch-sensitive steering wheel (multifunction steering wheel with capacitive surfaces),
- AR Head-up Display and
- center console tablet (also in the rear seating area and can be used outside of the car).
In the ‘I.D. Pilot’ mode, the front seats can be electrically unlatched and swiveled so that they face the rear. Beforehand, the entire multifunctional center console – the ‘I.D. Box’ – moves rearward. All other seating places can also be used flexibly.
Flexible seat layout. The seating system is flexibly designed to be like the living space at home or a lounge space. This variability is based on the seat rail system that is integrated in the flat floor and the adjustable and folding seats that are typical of Volkswagen vans. Some examples of variable use: the seatbacks of the individual second row seats can be folded to form tables. At stops, the third seat row can be made into a bed with just a few hand motions. Rest breaks and picnics take on a new quality. This also enables use of the I.D. BUZZ for overnighting. When the trip is resumed, clever detailed solutions make travel more pleasant. For instance, there are the softly padded side sun visors at the rear – they can be moved and are designed so that a passenger can lean on them. Individually placeable cushions also underscore the cozy atmosphere of the interior, which is flooded with light thanks to the large window areas and two-part panoramic roof.
Stylish interior. The warm interior colors are in keeping with its lounge space character. For instance, the dashpad in front of the driver and front passenger exhibits a color transition from Magnet Metallic to Moon White Metallic, and the dashpad and door panel structures that are interspersed with a honeycomb pattern are also illuminated by the ambient lighting. Sophisticated and stylish details are a common theme of the interior concept.
- Wood floor. The floor in the rear is made of fine birch wood (Silver Birch). The bright and friendly birch color underscores the cozy character of the interior. Aluminum inlays in the wood take up the honeycomb pattern of the dashpad and touch-sensitive steering wheel as well as the front bumper. The driver and front passenger footwells are upholstered in artificial leather; the material’s fabric-like structure is matched to the cream-colored fabric of the door area.
- Door trim. The top sections of the doors are covered with durable, sophisticated metallic artificial leather which features a gentle curve in the front area. This interplay of color underscores the transition from the driver’s area (dark) to the comfort zone at the rear: the cocoon of the rear section (brightly colored). The designers have upgraded the lower sections of the door trim panels with a creme-colored knitted fabric that is used throughout the rear seating area. The interior design and materials used reflect a successful synthesis of innovative design and a youthful character.
- Seat fabrics. A knit fabric that features a graduated honeycomb pattern is also used for the seats. The open meshes of the individual diamond shapes allow a light metallic background material to show through. Thanks to its high elasticity, the material conforms excellently to the seat shape. Accentuating details such as yellow leather, seatbelts with graduated color transitions and yellow seatbelt buckle buttons serve to underscore the modern and fresh feeling of the I.D. BUZZ. The yellow creates a connection between the exterior and interior.
Starting and stopping scenario. As soon as the driver’s seat is occupied, the steering wheel, which is retracted into the cockpit in parking mode, extends out, and the indicators and buttons on the steering wheel light up simultaneously. At the same time, the I.D. BUZZ activates the AR Head-up Display and the tablet in the ‘I.D. Box’. The ambient lighting also greets the driver with a welcome scenario. Close the doors, buckle up, press the brake pedal and select the driving gear – and the I.D. BUZZ is immediately ready to start off; there is no longer any engine start/stop button. The concept car is shut off by the ‘P’ button on the steering wheel. When that is done, the steering wheel retracts flush into the cockpit panel.
Steering wheel becomes touch-sensitive steering wheel. The steering wheel of the I.D. BUZZ does not have any spokes, rather it has a completely enclosed form. The wheel – which is trimmed with Nappa leather on its outer borders – is becoming more and more of an interactive touchpad. A new concept has been created here: the touch-sensitive steering wheel. Via touch-sensitive areas on its surface, the driver can operate the driving positions (P, R, N and D), turn signals and various menu functions such as the settings for the AR Head-up Display. The outer region of the touchpad has a honeycomb-like light signature. The same is true of the dashpad in front of the driver and front passenger. Pressing on the illuminated VW logo in the middle of the touch-sensitive steering wheel initiates a switch between the ‘Drive’ mode and ‘I.D.Pilot’ mode; the steering wheel then retracts or extends accordingly. When the touch-sensitive steering wheel is extended, i.e. in ‘Drive’ mode, it is possible to look along the steering column and see the front of the car; this transparent look makes the interior appear even airier.
Multifunctional ‘I.D. Box’ with Beats speakers. The ‘I.D. Box’ is a perfect fit for the character of the I.D. BUZZ. When the van is being driven by the driver, the ‘I.D. Box’ is positioned in front between the seats. In this case, the tablet integrated into the console is positioned to serve as a display and control element for the driver and front passenger. The ‘I.D. Box’ is also equipped with speakers from Beats, which are connected by Bluetooth with the smartphones on board and the sound system of the I.D. BUZZ. When the driver switches to ‘I.D. Pilot’ mode, the entire ‘I.D. Box’ moves towards the rear. Other console features include cup holders and a folding table. The center console (like the Beats speakers) is easy to unsnap and remove from the vehicle. This makes it the ideal package for taking a break from driving at the beach or anywhere else.
Tablet as interactive platform. As mentioned, the Volkswagen User-ID lets the I.D. BUZZ know who the driver is. The individual vehicle settings are configured accordingly, and features such as the person’s calendar are shown on the tablet. I.D. BUZZ also knows who the driver’s friends are via the Volkswagen User-ID Based on this information, the car might recommend meeting with friends, or activities that would fit ideally into the timing for the day. In the ‘I.D. Pilot’ autonomous mode, the system informs the driver on the tablet about changes to the calendar, for instance. That is not all: If the I.D. BUZZ passes by one of the driver’s favorite shops or a favorite restaurant, the car informs the driver on the tablet about the current offerings of these personal points of interest. This information can be hidden by a finger swipe, perhaps in order to start a game or a movie. To sum it up: a new era of interactive and personalized online services is beginning with the I.D. BUZZ.
AR Head-up Display gives driving instructions. The large I.D. BUZZ, like the compact I.D., is equipped with an AR Head-up Display. AR stands for Augmented Reality. Informational content such as navigation system guidance is projected as virtual images from 7 to 15 meters ahead of the car. The effect is astonishingly realistic. Direction arrows are projected via augmented reality to show exactly where the driver is heading with the van. Thanks to the AR Head-up Display, the navigation instructions – which were previously limited to a display located in the instrument cluster – are now part of three-dimensional surroundings that the driver can experience. Drivers can use the touch-sensitive steering wheel to modify the type and amount of information shown, adapting the system to their individual needs. Three levels of information density are available here:
- Level 1: ‘Navigation,’ ‘Speed’ and ‘Battery indicator’
- Level 2: level 1 plus ‘Phone’ (in ‘Drive’ mode) and ‘Local offerings’ (in ‘I.D. Pilot’ mode)
- Level 3: levels 1 and 2 plus ‘Friends’ along the route (in ‘Drive’ mode) and ‘Messages’ (in ‘I.D. Pilot’ mode)
e-Mirror instead of conventional mirror. There are no rear view mirrors in the I.D. BUZZ. Cameras and a display have taken over their job. At the usual location of the rearview mirror, there is a screen which looks exactly like a rearview mirror and performs its function: the e-Mirror. A monitor here combines the data from three external cameras. The images are transmitted from the exterior mirror cameras on the left and right sides of the car body and from a camera that faces directly rearward. Doing away with the side mirrors improves aerodynamics.
Interactive ambient lighting. The lighting mood of the interior also changes according to the mode. In ‘Drive’ mode, all illuminated elements are lit in a white tone. When the driver activates the ‘I.D. Pilot’ mode, they switch over to a warm mood color. In addition, the ambient lighting and touch-sensitive steering wheel assume warning and indicator functionalities. Consider ‘Drive’ mode, for example: if the driver wants to change lanes while another vehicle is alongside, a warning indicator lights on the relevant side of the dashpad. This means that the LED warning indicators of the lane-changing assistant, which are located in the door mirrors in today’s vehicles, migrate into the interior where they are even more intuitively perceptible. Another illustrative lighting function of ‘I.D. Pilot’ mode: the light signal on the touch-sensitive steering wheel, which in this mode is retracted into the dashpad and thereby fixed, virtually traces the movement of a turning steering wheel.