Volkswagen Joins the Software Industry

Volkswagen Group is now active in software development. Created in July of 2020, the Car.Software Unit is an independent organization dedicated to "the development of car software and software for the digital ecosystems,” according to VW Group. It develops software in five central areas: Connected Car & Device Platform, Intelligent Body & Cockpit, Automated Driving, Vehicle Motion & Energy and Digital Business & Mobility Services. Volkswagen has chosen to dive into this new business in order to have a larger share of the software industry as well as enjoy the ability to exercise control over and enact its own quality standards on the tech inside its own vehicles. The plan is to create a Volkswagen Operating System that will eventually become a unifying tech backbone of all VW Group vehicles (this includes both Volkswagen and Audi). Dashboard updates and over-the-air downloads will be able to be done via the cloud and data collection will allow for a better understanding of consumers’ wants and needs.

Just this month, Volkswagen has teamed up with Microsoft to accelerate the development of some of its tech-based projects, specifically, automated driving solutions. In collaboration with Microsoft, Car.Software is in the process of building a cloud-based Automated Driving Platform (ADP).

“As we transform Volkswagen Group into a digital mobility provider, we are looking to continuously increase the efficiency of our software development. We are building the Automated Driving Platform with Microsoft to simplify our developers’ work through one scalable and data-based engineering environment. By combining our comprehensive expertise in the development of connected driving solutions with Microsoft’s cloud and software engineering know-how, we will accelerate the delivery of safe and comfortable mobility services,” said Dirk Hilgenberg, CEO of the Car.Software Organization.

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) improve passenger safety and also help to reduce traffic congestion. Machine learning algorithms learn from real and simulated road and weather conditions, compiling data to create even safer and more comfortable automated driving solutions. Car.Software will expand their capabilities, including the development of new driving functions for passenger cars. By 2025, Volkswagen Group expects to invest over $32 billion in digitalization and in-house software development, bringing their share of the industry from 10% to 60%.

With the VW Automotive Cloud (VW-AC) combined with VW’s Automated Driving Platform, fully autonomous VW vehicles are within reach. Working on Microsoft’s Azure platform, VW will be able to create simpler, more efficient software while still maintaining their high standards of engineering and quality. VW-AC test fleets are expected to hit the roads in 2021, with passenger car production beginning in 2022.

“This is the next evolution of our foundational work with the Volkswagen Group to enhance their transformation as a software-driven mobility provider,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud + AI at Microsoft. “The power of Microsoft Azure and its compute, data and AI capabilities will enable Volkswagen to deliver secure and reliable automated driving solutions to their customers faster."

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