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RPM TV Website | July 6, 2020

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VW experimenting with advanced technology

2014 Volkswagen Passat
Adam Schoeman

Volkswagen has been considering advanced technologies emerging from other sectors for integration into the brand’s future cars.

Many of these technologies are about connected cars, and how the car is positioned in the world of social media. But some of those pieces of tech are also about driving.

Traffic Jam Pilot is exactly what it says it is: a way for the car to pilot itself in a traffic jam situation. Volkswagen says the system will be operational at speeds below 64 km/h and has so far undergone tens of thousands of kilometres of testing.

At the core of the system is an array of technologies consisting of laser sensors, laser scanners, and stereo and ultrasonic cameras. The system uses elements that are all readily available, but changes the way they interface with each other, and how the information they deliver is applied.

The car also requires a back-up system utilising high-definition maps, in case it is unable to ‘see’ what is ahead. In the past, autonomous multi-sensory vehicles have struggled to decide what piece of information is more important, and what should be trusted and what should be discarded. It will be interesting to see how Volkswagen attacks this problem, and how wide its release reach will be, based on available mapping technology.

The system is also very scalable and can be fitted to anything from an Audi A8 to a Golf.

Volkswagen is also looking at a piece of technology that Volvo and Land Rover have been making noise about recently: autonomous parking. The system would allow the driver to exit the car, and park it from their smartphone once a space that is large enough has been found.

The advantage is that a parking space with as little as 20 cm clearance can be used, and that the driver does not have to think about leaving enough space to open his or her door. But until this system becomes more widespread, you’ll still need to worry about the other two cars on either side, and hope that their drivers will be able to climb in through the sun roof …

Volkswagen says it’s very close to releasing this technology and that it hopes to have it market ready for some of its 2016 model year cars.

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