Research and development milestones
Volkswagen has a long tradition of developing the future itself. Back in 1955, the EA 48 study vehicle impressed with its front-wheel drive and unitary body. Volkswagen also led the way in the field of safety research, with the first crash tests in 1965 giving insights into vehicle safety. The ESVW I research vehicle from 1972 was a milestone which helped significantly improve the safety of subsequent production models. Research has been conducted into alternative drive technologies since the 1970s. Whether electricity, natural gas, alcohol, hydrogen or biofuel, the developers were ever so creative – resulting in an impressive number of concept vehicles developed in the course of more than 40 years.
Automatically heading to the future
Driving without actually driving yourself is a vision that Volkswagen has been pursuing since the 1970s. It all began with the creation of a Future Research department in 1970, which laid the foundations for the ongoing development of automated driving with a research project focusing on ‘automatic steering with computer vision’. And Volkswagen continued to focus on this development. For example, the Futura study vehicle unveiled in 1989 could already park and leave its parking space autonomously and kept its distance from the vehicle in front using radar – and this was almost 30 years ago. Many of the sensational developments from back then have long since been incorporated into Volkswagen’s series production, such as Park Assist, which has been available since 2006, Adaptive Cruise Control and the camera-assisted ambient traffic monitoring system Front Assist.
From the DigiFiz to the Innovision Cockpit
Development of the digital cockpit was likewise continuously advanced, from the first digital speedometer DigiFiz in 1986, to trip computers, multifunction displays and Active Info Display, which has no analogue displays at all and the functions of which are almost all freely configurable. This system is currently available in many Volkswagen models, such as the Passat, Tiguan, Golf, T-Roc and Polo. And the next stage is already in the starting blocks: the Innovision Cockpit, which is premiering in the new Touareg.1 With this operating concept, the 12-inch Active Info Display and the 15-inch touchscreen for controlling the vehicle’s infotainment features are brought together. It is controlled by touch, voice commands or hand movements. Things therefore look good – for the future too.
The full brochure and images can be found at www.volkswagen-media-services.com.