Innovating

Looking ahead, moving forward, at home in America.

At Volkswagen Group of America, we don’t believe the future is an unknowable mystery, we believe it is a doorway of opportunity. And we believe the future of our company is vitally linked to leading-edge research, both inside and outside the company. We use our expertise to provide superior products through innovative and sustainable technologies.

From our products to our processes to our people, we’re celebrating our history in the U.S. by moving toward the future, each and every day.

Fans of Audi became fans of The Nature Conservancy and raised $25,000 to help reduce carbon emissions. Audi donated $1 for every Facebook user who joined The Nature Conservancy’s effort to restore the Tensas River Basin. The project aims to counterbalance carbon emissions by reforesting private lands to capture and store carbon, and restoring critical habitats to native species in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Our engineers are always innovating to reduce our vehicles’ carbon emissions. But our commitment doesn’t stop with our products; we want to promote reduced emissions through support of organizations like The Nature Conservancy.

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“The world is gearing up for a big change in the way that people think about cars and the environment, and it’s great to work for a company like Volkswagen that’s actively a part of it,” said Bret Scott, Product Manager, CC and Eos for Volkswagen of America. “From our diesel and turbo-charged vehicles, to the construction of our new Tennessee assembly plant, we’ve been building a cleaner footprint for decades. And our work on hybrids, electric cars and other advanced technologies will take us to the next level.”

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In applying human factors research to new technologies in the vehicle, “we look at things from the user perspective, the human perspective,” said Brian Lathrop, Head of HMI, Cognitive Psychologist, Electronics Research Lab. “In designing any type of product for the vehicle, whether it’s applications on your instrument cluster, whether it’s touch-screen applications or a multi-media interface, that’s what we focus on…Our job is to understand how people use technology. We want to make sure we use it the best way, the safest way.” Thinking of how his mom or dad would drive today’s vehicles: “It’s important to understand how aging plays into using these technologies…You want them to drive the car in a safe manner. That’s important for me to figure that out.”

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The Vehicle Terrain Performance Lab at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) received the first Volkswagen Faculty Innovation Grant in 2010. The lab’s mission is to improve vehicle system performance by studying the interactions between vehicles and terrain. Selected from five proposals submitted by Virginia Tech, Dr. John B. Ferris, associate professor, Mechanical Engineering Department, and his students will focus on developing modeling and simulation techniques for “Location-Aware Adaptation of Vehicle Dynamics” under the year-long grant. Dr. Ferris conducted research in vehicle dynamics and chassis development in the automotive industry for 15 years before becoming a faculty member at Virginia Tech. Read more »

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In May 2010, eighteen University of Virginia engineering students, selected to participate in Volkswagen’s first Global Ingenuity Program, participated in a two-week study abroad course in Germany. Course highlights included a program designed to allow students to address and offer solutions to a real-world problem by participating in cross-cultural “think tanks” with students from the Technical University of Braunschweig. The two student teams worked collaboratively on a research and design problem assigned by Volkswagen Group’s Electronics Research Lab. The main goal was for students to find an innovative and safe way to assist the driver with performing different tasks and managing information while driving. Read more »

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View a recap of the VAIL opening ceremony at Stanford University, which includes interviews with Stanford engineering students, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s keynote speech and the VW Passat “Junior 2″ autonomous car demo. Read more »

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