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Volkswagen Eos Convertible orders are open, from just under €26,000
Volkswagen develops navigation with Google
And a "Digital Living" car PC with Microsoft

VW - Google Earth: 3-D city view.

VW study: data from Google Earth, generating 3-dimensional images.

APN,
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.

VW - Google Earth: mountain roads view.

Different views for cities as well as highways or country roads.

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 patterns.

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!

VW - Google Earth: keyboard.

Keyboard to enter addresses or search strings or questions.

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.

New VW Eos convertible coupé: front view.

New 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 passengers. 

The prototype presents three important advantages over today's systems.

Firstly: the 3-dimensional, photorealistic display of the surrounding area makes intuitive orientation easier for the driver and his passengers.

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.

New VW Eos convertible coupé: back view.

Eos convertible coupé: prices start from just under €26,000.

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.

Eos Convertible Orders

Starting at €25,950, advance sales of the VW Eos 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 U.S.).

Customers in Germany can take the Eos for a test drive from Friday, 19 May 2006.

The four-seater sports convertible will be on sale in five engine versions ranging from 85 kW/115 PS to 184 kW/250 PS.

Its 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.

VW - Microsoft Eos study for the CeBIT exhibition

VW - Microsoft Eos study for the CeBIT exhibition.

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.

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