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Silicon Valley Research Lab Key to VW’s Electric Future

Outside of Germany, the largest Volkswagen research facility in the world is located in northern California in the heart of Silicon Valley. Sitting in the midst of tech giants such as Apple and Google, the VW Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) is hard at work designing new technologies for the future of transportation. From electrified vehicles to self-driving cars and connected mobility, scientists are creating phenomenal breakthroughs for all the VW group brands. A new partnership with Aurora Technologies, a leader in autonomous software, is expected to speed the development of self-driving cars. “Our core purpose is to innovate to drive change,” said ERL boss Nikolai Reimer, who recently moved from Germany to head up the research effort.  “Everyone in Silicon Valley is very innovation driven. Over almost two decades, the ERL has developed a solid process to keep our focus on the right collaborations and the most relevant ideas to drive change that will have a real impact for driver experience and society as a whole.” You can keep up with the new technology coming from VW with a periodic visit to Chapman Volkswagen in Scottsdale.

Automation and Electrification are Keys to Future

Just as the assembly line and internal combustion engine were the keys to the inception of the automotive industry a century ago, Reimer says that electrification and automation are the straws that will stir the drink of future mobility. “We at the ERL envision a future mobility where both usership and ownership of vehicles will coexist. We anticipate that seamless multimodality will combine public and private transportation into one organic service powered by big data and artificial intelligence,” he said. Remier envisions a day where cheap broadband access will allow for an improved version of teleconferencing, where people “beam” themselves to other destinations via the Internet.

Silicon Valley Offers Unique Benefits

Being located in a spot that is so heavily invested in innovative technology is a major benefit for the ERL. “We cooperate with universities and startups on promising, emerging technologies such as sensors for autonomous driving and battery technology,” Reimer continued. “Our focus is on connected mobility, autonomous driving and holistic user experience to help improve the driver experience and drive meaningful change. ERL’s proximity to the local tech giants allows us to be the perfect incubation place for joint innovations as well as a reliable local collaborator for product development.” VW’s suite of sensor and camera safety features that help drivers avoid collisions is a good example of a step toward autonomous driving. See all the new technology when you stop by Chapman Volkswagen in Scottsdale.

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