Over the next few years (exact timing is unannounced) Volkswagen’s e-Golf battery-electric vehicle will receive a boost in range due to planned and anticipated improvements to its batteries (earlier post) as well as some of the advanced HMI (human-machine interface), device and connectivity technologies showcased at CES 2016 in the e-Golf Touch concept. (The exact technology slate for the US is also unannounced.)
The e-Golf Touch introduced a more advanced generation of the Modular Infotainment Toolkit (MIB) and for the first time, an early series-production preview of the new intuitive control technology, some of which will appear in the production e-Golf over the next few years. The e-Golf Touch features the latest version of MIB with a 9.2-inch high-resolution display (1280 x 640 pixels).
Facing the driver are four touch-sensitive buttons (Menu, Home, Car, App) and a push-rotary switch. The system’s 8.2-inch wide and 4.1-inch high home screen consists of a large main area as well as two configurable tiles on the right of the home screen. Each tile area, sized 1.7 inches high and 2.4 inches wide, can be assigned any of ten different functions. These can include Media (including cover art) or phone (including photo caller ID).
|For the full-year 2015, Volkswagen of America reported e-Golf sales of 4,232 units. For December 2015, sales were 609 units.|
It is also possible to drag the main area out to fill the entire home screen, displaying the full navigation map or smartphone integration platforms such as MirrorLink, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, through Volkswagen’s Car-Net App-Connect interface.
The range of functionality for the Exit Screen will increase considerably with the new infotainment system. For the first time, the exit screen will offer personalized, simplified access (one touch) to functions relevant to the real world, in real time. This makes it possible, for example, to program the auxiliary heating system within a matter of seconds, as the infotainment system displays the predefined settings for a predetermined length of time.
Volkswagen will offer the Exit screen functionality in all future generations of vehicles. An individually configurable entry screen is also currently under development.
|The next generation of batteries for the e-Golf (~28 Ah) could put the range at around 200 km, or around 124 miles, NEDC. US EPA values will be lower. Click to enlarge.|
The Golf R Touch concept car that was shown at CES 2015 was the first production-based Volkswagen to feature a gesture control system. The production e-Golf already features proximity sensors in the touchscreen nav that activate the display of a pop-up menu when an approaching hand is detected. In the e-Golf Touch, VW engineers augmented that basic functionality to support swiping gestures without touching the screen.
The e-Golf Touch also marks the debut of Volkswagen’s latest generation voice control technology. This system offers significantly improved controls, as voice commands are displayed on the screen to accompany the request. This new version of the voice control system will be launched in the early summer of 2016 in Europe.
Volkswagen will also be the first manufacturer to present a new “Keyword Activation” voice recognition function in the e-Golf Touch. This feature allows the driver to start voice recognition simply by saying “Hello Volkswagen”, or similar, to the system. This eliminates the need for physical activation.
Wireless device charging. Volkswagen integrated an inductive charging system into the mobile phone tray, under the infotainment system, in the E-Golf Touch. For the first time on a Volkswagen model, it is also possible to wirelessly charge smartphones in the back seats, via the rear armrests. The e-Golf Touch is also equipped with a new USB Type C port, permitting high-speed USB data transfer while simultaneously charging the phone. This feature significantly reduces the time it takes to recharge.
Electronic voice amplification. An electronic voice amplification used in the e-Golf Touch improves in-car acoustics, making it easier for the driver and front-seat passenger to talk to back-seat passengers. The system uses the hands-free microphone in conjunction with the rear speakers. The volume of the electronic voice amplification is also automatically adjusted to suit the speed of the vehicle. If the music volume is very high, the volume of the electronic voice amplification is reduced.
Personalization 2.0. The number of convenience and assistance systems and the associated range of configurability increases with every new vehicle generation. Many of these systems are individually adjusted, and used by different drivers of the same car. Invariably, this means that settings have to be constantly reset. Volkswagen conceived Personalization 2.0 to solve this challenge. This allows individual settings for one driver to be saved in a user account, then saved to the cloud via Volkswagen Car-Net ID.
If that driver then gets into another compatible Volkswagen, he or she can simply load his or her Car-Net ID settings in the infotainment system, activating them in the new vehicle. This effectively means that drivers will always have their own individual settings with them, which is especially handy for use in rentals, company cars, or even within families.
Using the Volkswagen Car-Net ID app also makes it possible to change your settings in your user account and save the updates to the cloud. The app can be used to familiarize users with a new Volkswagen in advance. All user data is protected against unauthorized access by utilizing advanced third-party encryption and can be deleted quickly by accessing the app.
Media Control, Generation 3.0. The Volkswagen Media Control app allows control of almost all infotainment functions through a tablet device. Simply connect a tablet via the vehicle’s WiFi hotspot, and passengers are able to control various features such as the radio, all media sources (USB, CD, DVD, hard drive, online song search) and factory-installed navigation. This third generation of Media Control will launch this summer in Europe, and adds several additional features, including:
Video streaming between tablets. Remote control of the media that is playing on tablets via the infotainment system. This makes it possible to play a film simultaneously on two separate tablets in the back—a handy feature for traveling with children.
Audio streaming a playlist via tablet or smartphone to the infotainment system (synchronized audio playback via the vehicle’s speakers). The current playlist can be customized by all in-car users of the app, via compatible devices.
Car-Net App Connect and WiFi. Volkswagen Car-Net App Connect is the brand’s advanced smartphone integration platform that allows for seamless integration from device to vehicle. When linked to the infotainment system, the Telephone app can be used—via the system’s touchscreen—with a graphic interface that mirrors that of the smartphone being used. Similarly, the voice control which is available on several smartphone operating systems, map or music apps can also be used in the same manner.
Through Car-Net App Connect and the MirrorLink, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integrated platforms, the system is compatible with most available smartphones currently available. Previously it was necessary to connect the smartphone to the infotainment system via a cable. With Volkswagen’s introduction of the second-generation of Car-Net App-Connect & WiFi, users can take advantage of wireless smartphone integration.
Once the function has been configured, the smartphone can be left in the user’s handbag or jacket pocket. On longer journeys, the smartphone can be placed in the Volkswagen’s wireless inductive charging cradle to supply it with constant power.