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Updated 2021 Volkswagen Arteon debuting June 24 alongside a new model that won't come to the U.S.

The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon will debut on June 24.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Volkswagen what? You're not alone if you haven't heard of the Arteon. The model is easy to forget in a carscape that's crowded with a rich number of much more premium and luxury cars that compete directly with the model in the U.S. due to the car's high price point.

The Arteon is the successor to the Volkswagen CC. The company makes them in Germany and China. VW designed the car to be an upmarket offering.

2020 Volkswagen ArteonThe current interior of the 2020 Arteon doesn't have the appointments or features of many modern premium and luxury cars, despite Volkswagen positioning the model to fit in with that crowd.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

It's a model that hasn't quite caught on with American audiences despite the popularity of other models in the Volkswagen lineup like the Atlas, Tiguan, and Jetta. In the first quarter of the year, Volkswagen sold under 800 Arteons. Alfa Romeo sold more than twice as many Giulias during that same time and Toyota sold that many RAV4s every 17 hours.

Volkswagen will debut a refreshed version of the Arteon on June 24. The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon will have a completely new cockpit area and feature a new roster of high-tech infotainment system functions.

It will also benefit from the addition of new safety and driver assist systems, including Travel Assist, which takes over steering, acceleration, and braking at speeds up to 130 mph. Further restrictions of the vehicle's capability will likely be forthcoming.

Additionally, Volkswagen will premiere the new Arteon shooting brake alongside the sedan. VW has already acknowledged that the U.S. isn't getting this version of the car. It's planned exclusively for Europe according to a release from the company.

With just the interior getting refreshed, the U.S. version of the car is likely to continue to have its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. For the 2020 model year, Volkswagen sold the car in the U.S. in three trim levels: SE, SEL, and SEL Plus. It was priced starting at $35,995.

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VW purchased the rights to the iconic Scout name and plans to make new EVs under the brand.

Volkswagen

Automakers bring back names and brands from the past all the time, but it's not every day that a major company purchases a brand name specifically for the purpose of reviving it. That's exactly what Volkswagen just did with Scout, the name of an ultra-popular off-road SUV that was built by International Harvester in the 1960s and 1970s.

As for the types of vehicles we'll see from the brand, we currently only have the renders to go on. The pickup truck and SUV both feature throwback styling that is reminiscent of the original Scout shapes. Beefy off-road tires and lifted suspension are the only other clues available in the drawings.

Volkswagen has its own EVs, and its other brands like Audi and Porsche have made significant progress with electric vehicles as well. That said, VW doesn't really have a solid off-road option from any of its brands at the moment, so the Scout purchase opens doors for the automaker in that arena.

The announcement sounds exciting, but we've still got plenty of time to wait before there's a Scout-branded EV on the roads. Volkswagen said the plan is to release vehicles by 2026, but it won't be sitting idle between now and then. The VW ID.4 is still very fresh and the automaker says it will launch a total of 25 new EVs in the U.S. by 2030.

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Toyota patented a dog-walking robot.

Toyota

Pets are one of life's great pleasures, but there's no disputing that they're a ton of work. Cleaning, vet visits, and walks are just the beginning, so it's always interesting to see the products that promise to make pet ownership more manageable. Toyota, the world's largest automaker, filed a patent for a self-driving dog-walking robot that looks nearly as advanced as many cars today.

Toyota Dog Walk RobotLogic helps the bot determine when to clean up a mess. Toyota

The main structure appears to be a platform with various attachments, and though the intention is for the machine to walk the dog for you, there's space for a person to ride. The vehicle is completely autonomous and does not require a person to guide it on walks. Sensors keep the robot from running over the dog and maintain speed.The patent paperwork includes several decision trees and logic for how the vehicle responds in various dog walking scenarios. One uses the vehicle's sensors to gauge the dog's distance from the robot. If the dog wanders too far, the machine can lock the leash and adjust its speed to maintain proper distance. It's the same sort of "thinking" done by autonomous cars on the road, just adjusted for scooping poop and leash management.

Speaking of number-two, dogs tend to poop when they walk, so Toyota had to prepare the robot for some poop scooping. In its decision-making process, Toyota added logic that asks, "Is it detected that the dog has pooped?" If the answer is yes, the machine is then instructed to "Execute collection process." A camera helps determine when the pooping has happened so the machine can do its job. If the dog pees, there's a water sprayer with an onboard tank to rinse the ground.

If your dog is anything like some of ours, it's likely you don't make through more than a few walks without some antics. Our lazy pups frequently get tired of walking and decide it's time for a mid-sidewalk nap, but Toyota's dog walker isn't going to tolerate any of that. The platform features paw sensors that can sense the dog's position and even let it do some driving.

Toyota Dog Walk RobotThe bot will scoop poop and wash away pee during a walk.

Toyota's patent filing is fun to think about and imagine what could be, but it's still just a patent. The automaker could turn its idea into a line of puppy walkers sold at dealers across the country or file it away as a thought exercise, never to be seen again. Either way, Toyota's got an exciting year ahead of it with the GR Corolla release and bZ4X hitting the streets, and there are rumors of a Crown SUV coming to the automaker's lineup.

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