Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand: “Volkswagen is moving up a gear when it comes to digitalisation. After the successful roll-out of our all-electric ID. family, the brand is once again leading the movement: we are creating a totally new, digital customer experience with new functions and greater comfort – every twelve weeks. This makes us the first high-volume manufacturer to regularly deliver extensive Over-the-Air Updates. This is an important milestone in the implementation of our ACCELERATE strategy, which is preparing Volkswagen for the connected, digital mobility of the future.”
Extensive improvements thanks to Over-the-Air Updates
The first update for the all-electric ID. models comes with many functional improvements: these include enhanced ID. Light functionalities, optimised surroundings recognition and dynamic main beam control, improved operability and design modifications for the infotainment system, as well as performance and stability improvements.
The software updates are delivered via mobile data transfer, straight to the central high-performance computers in the ID. models (In Car Application Server, ICAS for short). In the case of cars based on the modern MEB platform, these take on functions that were previously distributed across a host of control units in earlier vehicle generations. The new electronics architecture is not only more powerful and intelligent, it also simplifies the exchange of data and functions between systems in the car. This makes it possible to reach and update up to 35 control units via the Over-the-Air Updates.
Focus is always on customers with ID. Digital
“Cars that always have the latest software on board and offer an excellent digital customer experience are extremely important for the future success of the Volkswagen brand,” said Thomas Ulbrich, member of the Board of Management for Development at Volkswagen. “We established the agile project unit ID. Digital specifically to enable us to continuously update software in the car. As such, we are able to quickly gather customer feedback and react flexibly to customer requirements. This means the ID. models remain constantly up to date after delivery, and customer cars retain their value better.”
The driving force behind the digitalisation of the brand is the close cooperation between ID. Digital and CARIAD, the Volkswagen Group’s car software organisation. This collaboration makes for a wealth of software expertise. The brand benefits from the company’s clout, whilst at the same time using the speed of the agile software company CARIAD. “Over-the-Air Updates are a central functionality of the digital, connected car,” said CARIAD CEO Dirk Hilgenberg. “They will become the norm for customers – just like downloading the latest operating system or apps on your smartphone.”
Business model 2.0: the future of mobility
With Over-the-Air Updates of the software, the Volkswagen brand is laying the foundations for new business models – as laid out in the ACCELERATE strategy. In the future, customers will no longer need to decide on functions for their car when purchasing the car – or which configuration will make for a higher resale value. This is because the hardware will be standardised to a great extent. In the future, additional functions and innovative technology can be added later via software updates.