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Volkswagen Industrial Cloud development sped up as a cost-savings tool

Volkswagen is looking to save billions over the next five years thanks to cloud app development.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The buying public is predicted to be buying less vehicles in 2020. The need to trim the fat is a common theme amongst automakers these days. At Volkswagen, the process has already started.

Volkswagen Group is moving forward with a new cloud-based tracking program called the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud. The company linked the first three of its plants in 2019 in Chemnitz, Wolfsburg, and Polkowice (Poland).

"In 2020, we intend to bring the Cloud to 15 further plants," says Gerd Walker, Head of Production, Volkswagen Group.

Volkswagen cloud integrationVolkswagen Group will integrate its technology across the world.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

That list of plants includes those assembling vehicles for the Audi, Seat, Skoda, Porsche, and Volkswagen brands. These include the plants at Brunswick, Emden, Hanover, Ingolstadt, Kassel, Leipzig, Neckarsulm, Salzgitter, Zuffenhausen and Zwickau (all in Germany), Martorell (Spain), Palmela (Portugal), Györ (Hungary), and Mladá Boleslav and Vrchlabi (Czech Republic).

"We are making good progress and significantly forcing the pace," says Roy Sauer, Head of Enterprise and Platform Architecture, Volkswagen Group.

The Industrial Cloud is built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Siemens is the integration partner.

As part of their 10-year plan (2016-2025), Volkswagen intestines to boost the productivity of their plants by 30 percent and "our Industrial Cloud will be a key lever for achieving this objective," says Walker.

The first step of the plan included identifying 15 different applications that could be made available as standardized apps for all of the Volkswagen Group plants. Those apps focus on the predictive maintenance of machines and the reduction of reworking on vehicles by using artificial intelligence.

The apps record input from "several hundred thousand machines and plant items" according to Volkswagen. That data is analyzed by the apps. The systems all must be connected manually. Some older machines require a sensor to be installed. VW says, " In the final stage of development, the total quantity of information to be processed each day will correspond to the volume of data from a small town in Germany."

At present, 220 workers are dedicated to the project. By the end of the year, that number is expected to rise to 500.

The systems being developed by Volkswagen are being made available to other companies as part of an open ecosystem. Development will then continue together in partnership with those companies. There is no specific focus on the automotive sector.

According to a release, Volkswagen expects to save several billion euros when the data of all 124 plants can be evaluated in a standardized way. By implementing these first apps, the company is already expected to save €200 million.

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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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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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