Volkswagen Partners Up for EV, Autonomous Vehicle Development

Volkswagen Group Research and automation specialist KUKA have announced that they will intensify their strategic partnership in the area of service concepts for vehicles of the future.

According to Volkswagen, one of the aims of the research collaboration is to develop robot-based innovations for all-electric and autonomous automobiles.

“We are working intensively on structuring the mobility of tomorrow. This is not simply about innovative vehicle concepts but encompasses completely new requirements in the service sector,” says CEO of Volkswagen AG Matthias Müller.

As reported, the new cooperation links up with an existing joint research project looking into collaboration between human and robot. The e-smart Connect project includes a practical and user-friendly solution for charging high-voltage batteries of electric vehicles produced by the Volkswagen Group.

The German automaker says this project involves a KUKA robot independently connecting up the vehicle with a charging station in a specially developed application. The driver simply has to position the electrically powered automobile in a designated parking space, while the robot takes care of connecting up the charging cable for the driver.

Aside from the technological fundamentals, plans are being laid for the development of other concepts for innovative applications in the new strategic partnership.

“Autonomous vehicles will contribute to making mobility safer, simpler and more convenient. This includes innovative services associated with the automobile,” comments head of research and development at the Volkswagen Group Ulrich Eichhorn. “Our aim is to use the new strategic partnership to develop other opportunities in this area.”

The Volkswagen Group is planning a strategic e-mobility offensive in the course of realigning its drive strategy. By the end of 2018, more than 10 new electrified models will be launched on the market. A further 30 models will follow by 2025. These will be all-electric battery-powered vehicles.

In parallel, Porsche will manage the ongoing expansion of infrastructure for quick-charging stations. The Volkswagen Group is providing a vision for autonomous driving of the future with the “Sedric” concept car. Audi recently established Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH for self-drive systems. This company is carrying out work for the entire Volkswagen Group.

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