Where German engineering meets American ingenuity.
Volkswagen Group of America and Stanford University’s School of Engineering welcomed German Chancellor and former physicist Angela Merkel on April 16, 2010, for the formal dedication of the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory (VAIL) on the Stanford campus.
At the event, students and engineers demonstrated Junior 2 — the most current iteration of the autonomous vehicle designed by the university and Volkswagen. Used in the Urban Challenge competition sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the first “Junior” came in second. It can detect pedestrians, bicyclists and traffic signals, all while obeying traffic rules and driving itself around.
The Volkswagen Group’s $5.75 million commitment to VAIL includes $2 million for building construction and another $750,000 a year for five years to fund research and teaching activities. We believe vibrant public-private partnerships like this are critical to a sustainable economic future for America.
Our research and development facilities are at home in the heart of California’s electronics corridor where we already have some of the brightest minds working to change the way we think of mobility at our Electronics Research Laboratory, founded in 1998.
Automotive innovations from our research labs include driver assisted technologies and communication tools that help drivers stay safer behind the wheel, such as Apple iPhone integration, 3D graphics, speech recognition and LED headlights.