Sustainable mobility, connectivity and automated driving

Mobility is a prerequisite for economic growth. But while the need for constant mobility is rising, natural resources are dwindling. This calls for holistic mobility concepts to minimize environmental impact. Such solutions need to be efficient, sustainable, customer-oriented and accessible anytime and anywhere.

We are researching and developing such pioneering concepts and solutions in our Group-wide alliance. In shaping the future of mobility, we are looking not only at the automobile but at all modes of transport and transport infrastructures, at people’s mobility habits and at other relevant factors. Innovative technologies such as connectivity and automated driving are enabling us to take completely new problem-solving approaches. We want to take advantage of these to contribute to a comprehensive mobility system of the future and to help shape our industry’s digital transformation.

Another initiative of our future program TOGETHER – Strategy 2025 is the establishment of a cross-brand mobility solutions business. Our mobility business MOIA, which we founded in 2016, is to become one of the leading providers of innovative transport services and will develop profitable, globally applicable business models over the next few years. Strategic investments and partnerships are also being sought. In the reporting year, MOIA conducted service tests for its ride-pooling concept – an organized ride-sharing system with a driver – among other products in Hanover over several months with selected participants, gathering valuable experience. These and other activities will help to make Volkswagen one of the world’s leading providers of efficient and convenient smart mobility services by 2025, with a portfolio encompassing all brands and both “mobility-on-demand” and “vehicle-on-demand” services.

In December 2017, Volkswagen Truck & Bus launched the digital brand RIO. This cloud-based, multi-vendor platform serves the entire transport and logistics ecosystem. For the first time, everyone in the supply chain – shippers, forwarders, carriers, loaders, dispatchers, drivers and recipients – will be connected. RIO will offer digital solutions for all the players involved in the transport system. It will work closely with customers to tailor solutions to the needs and demands of the market and continuously enhance them.

On the road to autonomous driving, the Volkswagen Group has further improved its assistance systems and automated driving functions in 2017 and fitted them in vehicles. The strategic objective is to market highly automated driving functions for private vehicles, shared mobility systems and commercial mobility providers as a core competency of the Group from 2021. With the presentation of the Sedric concept vehicle and a look ahead at the Sedric family – from fully autonomous city vehicles to luxurious long-distance mobility, spectacular sports cars, self-driving urban delivery vehicles and heavy trucks – the Volkswagen Group has introduced its vision of an autonomous mobility system. Particularly in cities, these vehicles will enable completely new forms of individual mobility – even for user groups that have so far been excluded. A balanced combination of different vehicle sizes will also reduce the space required for parking and optimize urban transport as a whole.

Autonomous driving in the complex urban environment places heavy demands on technology. We are dedicated to meeting these challenges. Led by Audi, the Volkswagen Group founded Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH in 2017. This new company will develop a Group-wide system for self-driving vehicles. The reporting year also saw the presentation of the Audi A8 – an innovation highlight with up to 41 driver assistance systems. The AI Traffic Jam Pilot – the first automated driving function in a production vehicle – deserves special mention. In traffic jam situations on multi-lane highways it enables Level 3 automated driving as defined by international standards at speeds of up to 60 km/h. This means that drivers no longer need to continuously monitor the system. Depending on national legislation, the driver may also perform other permitted tasks while the vehicle is in motion. This results in a high degree of convenience and safety. Audi will gradually introduce the AI Traffic Jam Pilot into series production in various countries: its introduction requires clarification of the respective national legal framework and adjustment and testing of the system accordingly; different national approval processes and deadlines must also be complied with.

Using the new AI functions, Porsche is working on improving active driving safety as well as the acceptance of assistance systems and automated driving functions among car drivers. Its current focus is on Grip Prediction, a technical solution to predict how much grip the road surface will offer and adjust driving speed for longitudinal and lateral movement. Vehicle data from prototypes, combined with local weather data, is the basis for this.