Friday, February 03, 2006

Volkswagen and Google Team Up to Explore Future Vehicle Navigation Systems

Text and photos from Volkswagen of America.
Virtual Reality: Prototype with Google Earth creates realistic 3D, satellite-based map

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Volkswagen of America, Inc. and Google recently presented the future of vehicle navigation at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and it’s closer to virtual reality than ever before.

Volkswagen, Google, and graphics chipmaker, nVidia, are working on an in-car navigation map system and display that is 3-dimensional and more real looking than anything that’s available today.

Driver and Passenger will be able to instinctively recognize where they are in relation to the surrounding topography, especially in urban areas that are depicted with depth and accurate size relationships between buildings and roads.

Volkswagen, working through its Electronic Research Laboratory (ERL), in Palo Alto, Calif., together with Google and nVidia, is also working on other advancements, including automatic personalized content updates for its vehicle navigation systems.

Highlights of Volkswagen’s prototype vehicle include a vehicle-centric touchscreen interface to Google Earth with state-of-the-art graphics, accurate 3D maps and real-time traffic updates and routing. This open system harnesses the power of the web to maintain a dynamic database of current information on restaurants, dealerships, gas stations and other points of interest that can be overlaid directly onto the user’s 3D map. With the increasing accuracy of GPS, dead-reckoning and laser-radar imaging, as well as ever-improving car-to-infrastructure communication, this prototype will be available on showroom floors in the near future.

High-quality 3D and satellite-based representations of the world are becoming an exciting feature in on-line search engines and navigation. These photo-realistic, high-resolution 3D images are not only more engaging for the user, but they are also more efficient and accurate at conveying information than traditional 2D mapping representations.

About the Electronics Research Laboratory
The Volkswagen of America, Inc. Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) focuses on providing customers with smarter cars, sooner. It aims to identify new technologies and accelerate their development into future production vehicles. Located in Palo Alto, California, the ERL is a high-profile think-tank representing the Volkswagen Group in North America. Its presence in the heart of Silicon Valley allows the Volkswagen Group to work directly with the world's leading high-tech companies, start-ups, and universities. Working closely with these partners allows the ERL to design and develop innovative features and applications, which are then integrated with Group vehicles for evaluation and testing. For additional information please visit www.vwerl.com.

Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. Volkswagen of America and its affiliates employ approximately 3,000 people in the United States and are responsible for the sale and service of Audi, Bentley, and Volkswagen products through retail networks comprising in total more than 900 independent U.S. dealers.

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