VW Readies $4 Billion Digital Service Platform for All Models
Volkswagen AG’s namesake brand plans to launch its own car-sharing service next year and is developing an integrated software control program to help coordinate vehicle sensors and autonomous driving technologies.
VW also is readying a cloud-based Internet-of-Things “One Digital Platform.” By 2020, all new VW-badged models will be connected to the system, which will allow customers to access various mobility services over a common platform.
The company will introduce its “We Share” car-sharing scheme for electric vehicles in Berlin next spring, then expand into other European markets and select North American cities in 2020.
The program kicks off with a fleet of 1,500 e-Golfs and e-Ups electric cars in Germany. These vehicles will be replaced with the all-electric I.D. hatchback when the new model is added in 2020. The EVs will be supported by a network of independent charging stations that VW is developing with industry partners.
The carmaker also announced a new software operating system for its I.D. family of EVs early next decade. Dubbed "vw.OS," the architecture will allow a single control unit to handle dozens of electronic devices. Some vehicles currently use as many as 70 manufacturer-specific controllers for third-party software suppliers, according to the carmaker.
VW says its integrated approach will enable information to be shared more easily among systems, such as GPS, object-detection sensors and autonomous steering and braking functions. The architecture also is expected to help facilitate over-the-air software updates.
A young(ish) guy that I’ve known for a number of years, a man who spent the better part of his career writing for auto buff books and who is a car racer on the side, mentioned to me that his wife has a used Lexus ES Hybrid.
Ford has made an accomplishment that will never be bested, never even be tied.
The future of e-mobility depends on collaboration. Automotive companies will need to build business models based on strengths and limitations to tap into the EV value chain and fully capitalize on the opportunities within the new EV ecosystem.