New digital technologies are causing profound changes to the car ‘s role. The Volkswagen Group, alongside its strategic partners, is giving shape to a digital ecosystem which puts the vehicle at the heart of the Internet of Things.
The cornerstone of the ecosystem will be a cloud technology-based platform, the One Digital Platform (ODP), which will allow cars, customers and services to communicate. The goals are clearly defined: on the one hand, to provide full connectivity to future vehicle generationsand, on the other, to develop value-added services of easy access for customers.
In order to meet these, the Group has established partnerships with leading technology companies who will provide specialist know-how and strengthen digital business opportunities: Microsoft, diconium and WirelessCar.
Microsoft will provide the technical foundations – Azure – for the ODP and for the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud, the cloud computing service which will allow communication between the vehicle, ODP platform and Volkswagen-brand digital services.
These services will be developed simultaneously with diconium, a German company with a focus on digital business models. On this front, Volkswagen and diconium intend to launch a global online sales platform allowing Volkswagen customers to purchase and manage all the upcoming “We” services and on-demand functions for their connected vehicles. These will include multimedia streaming, automatic payment for fuel, battery charging and parking, and over-the-air updates. Another key point in the partnership is the digitalisation of sales and service processes, which will involve not only the manufacturer, but also require close cooperation from dealers.
As regards vehicle connectivity, the Volkswagen Group has acquired a majority stake in the Swedish telematics specialist WirelessCar. WirelessCar technology will enable safe and stable data exchange between the vehicle’s operating system and the cloud-based platform, and will form the essential basis for the future software architecture in the vehicle.
The Volkswagen brand as trailblazer
The specific reference to the Volkswagen brand is anything but random: it will, indeed, blaze a trail for the entire Group towards the mobility of the future.
“We will continue to build vehicles of the highest quality. But, looking beyond this, Volkswagens will increasingly become digital devices on wheels, and our customers will become part of an ecosystem which will group all of our mobility services together”, explained Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand with responsibility for Sales, Marketing and After Sales. This will make it possible for people to bring their world into the vehicle with them, also through the use of third-party apps which will benefit from open interfaces.
Next year will mark a turning point: while today around 1.5 million vehicles without Internet access can connect only thanks to Volkswagen Connect, from 2020 onwards, the company’s entire production will be fully connected – starting with the ID family – and each year more than 5 million new Volkswagen vehicles will become part of the Internet of Things.