study: data from Google Earth, generating
23rd March 2006.
Like other manufacturers, VW
realises that the future of the automobile will share more
and more with other advanced technologies, mainly
communication, entertainment and information.
Like the car
industry diversified its activities between carmakers and
suppliers of different levels, the information technology
is of course in a similar diversification mode.
views for cities as well as highways or
Hence, it will become more and more
usual to find carmakers collaborating with different
information technology players, in cross-collaboration
models rather than in traditional vertical, or exclusive
In a age when some technologies become
"old" just a few years, if not months after
their launch, exclusivity might not be the best way to
drop design, manufacturing and distribution costs. Through
open systems - open in the sense of upgradeable as well as
open to horizontal partnerships - different players can
generate additional profits not just from what their own
brands sell, but from others too. The more the merrier!
to enter addresses or search strings or
Earlier this month, Fiat
Auto highlighted at the 76th Geneva Motor Show (2-12
March), its new Blue&MeTM
system (based on Windows Mobile™ for Automotive),
representing the first step in an industrial partnership
signed in 2004 between Fiat
and Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit to co-design
automotive telematics systems, relying on a flexible, open
system which is always upgradeable to stay up-to-date.
And here come Volkswagen
with its similar collaboration moves, in different, yet
complementary projects, with Google,
nVidia and Microsoft.
With Google, first, Volkswagen
is working to develop a new navigation system, in
collaboration with the graphics card manufacturer nVidia.
VW Eos convertible coupé: fits between
Golf and Passat.
The new navigation system is being
developed in Volkswagen's Electronics Research Laboratory
(ERL) in Palo Alto, California. Using data from Google
Earth, it generates 3-dimensional images of the route,
with the capability to gather online data to provide the
driver with real-time information, for example about the
traffic situation or weather.
Volkswagen, Google and nVidia have been
working on developing this new navigation system since
last October. In January 2006 at the Consumer Electronics
Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the partnership was able to
present its first prototype, which comes another step
closer to "virtual reality travel information".
The central element is a touch-screen
interface linked to Google Earth, featuring precise
3-dimensional maps, real-time traffic route guidance
updates and a search function. This so-called "open
system" integrates the internet to meet the
individual requirements of the driver and his
The prototype presents three important advantages over
Firstly: the 3-dimensional,
photorealistic display of the surrounding area makes
intuitive orientation easier for the driver and his
Secondly: important real-time data are
fed into the system through a link to the internet. This
means that, for example, traffic data and weather reports,
but also any other information relevant to planning the
journey such as filling stations, their opening times and
current fuel prices are available, enhancing comfort,
safety and reliability for the journey.
convertible coupé: prices start from just
Thirdly: a further online link coupled
to the search function allows the driver and his
passengers to receive information about special features
en route and at the destination – hotels, restaurants,
cinemas and theatres are feasible examples. The driver and
his passengers can even receive shopping data, right down
to current prices, through the navigation
system. All such data is
shown on the display.
at €25,950, advance sales of the
have just begun. Volkswagen
dealers in Germany are now taking
orders for the new convertible
coupé, which will be launched in
eight weeks time (September in the
in Germany can take the Eos for a
test drive from Friday, 19 May
four-seater sports convertible
will be on sale in five engine
versions ranging from 85 kW/115 PS
to 184 kW/250 PS.
standard specification includes in
Germany (to be checked in overseas
markets) ESP, air conditioning,
electric windows, alloy wheels, a
leather-lined steering wheel,
optimised-safety front head
restraints, front airbags,
especially developed head-thorax
airbags, and a roll over
protection system that deploys in
a maximum of 0.25 seconds.
At present, this system is still in the
development phase – no decision has yet been made about
a possible series production launch.
Based in Palo Alto, California, the ERL
is the Volkswagen Group's central research centre in the
USA. In the heart of Silicon Valley, it is able to work
directly with globally leading high-tech and start-up
companies. The close working relationship between the ERL
and these partners facilitates the design and development
of innovative features and applications, which are then
applied to test vehicles of the Volkswagen Group brands
for further analysis.
With Microsoft, Volkswagen
presented at the CeBIT exhibition (9-15 March) another
communication study on the new Coupé / Cabriolet Eos, as
part of the special show "Digital Living".
Conceived in collaboration with
Microsoft, the Eos study featured a car
PC from inperio Systems with an Intel Celeron Processor
(650 MHz), a RAM with 256 MB and a hard drive with 20 GB,
offering the user all the functions that he has at home.
- Microsoft Eos study for the CeBIT
The data processor is centrally located
in the backrests of the rear seats. Both have 7 inch
monitors installed in the head restraints of the front
seats, as already known from rear seat entertainment.
The external keyboard or games consoles
are connected via wireless LAN and the bandwidth of the
car infotainment system can be utilised in full.
In addition to a navigation
system, pictures, videos,
DVDs and music can also be played, even online work is
possible. Emails can be sent and received, as well as
direct communication and in real time with business
partners and friends via a messenger. Information from the
internet is accessed via the Internet Explorer.