Imagine being able to control the radio from the back seat, swipe your hand to open the sunroof — or even better — to park your car from a remote location. These are just some of the technologies Volkswagen has in store for this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
If the Golf R Touch concept vehicle is any indication, we could be looking at a dramatically different infotainment system on future Volkwagen models. This one is virtually without buttons, relying on two main touchscreens to control a variety of functions. A 12.8-inch infotainment screen lies above a 8.0-inch control center for HVAC functions. A slider in between these two screens replaces rotary knobs, allowing drivers to swipe with one finger to control audio volume, two fingers to control navigation functions, and three fingers for telephone volume. Additionally, front passengers can control the position of their seats through lateral hand motions, while the sunroof can be operated with a swiping motion at the windshield.
MIB II, the automaker’s next-generation infotainment system that will debut later this year, will incorporate a slew of new apps we see here at CES. Drivers are able to operate a variety of apps through three underlying systems, including Mirror Link, Android Auto, and CarPlay. The Connected Golf concept allows for integration of tablets and smart watches to the car’s infotainment system. This made it possible for VW to create, for instance, a unique rear entertainment system, which allows backseat passengers to connect their devices through the Wi-Fi hotspot and control the car’s radio, CD/DVD players, and navigation system.
Meanwhile, VW’s new Parking Guide technology may have just the answer for finding a parking space in the busy city. It recognizes whether parking spaces are available and transmits the data to a backend computing center, which then yields a map showing areas where parking spots are most likely. Routes can also be calculated to drive along streets with the highest parking availability.
Volkswagen is also debuting automated parking functions at the show. An e-Golf demonstrates VW’s new parking technology, which allows for automatic parallel parking. The test e-Golf controls the entire steering process, essentially taking drivers out of the equation. Volkswagen says this technology may evolve to a point where the driver can use a smartphone to remotely park the vehicle in a designated space.
Also on an e-Golf, Volkswagen is experimenting with inductive EV charging stations. We’ve heard of these before — cars can simply park on top of a plate for wireless charging. But in Volkswagen’s system, power lifts move the charging plate closer to the e-Golf for minimal energy loss. Also, owners can detect the car’s state of charge through the car’s exterior lights. If the battery is fully charged, the lights will operate continuously, but if the car is still charging, the lights will pulsate. Drivers can even use a smartphone to autonomously position the car at just the right position on the charge plate for optimal charging.