Production

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 integration Volkswagen 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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Discontinued sedan

Volkswagen nixing Passat after 2022 model year

Racing Green Metallic is one of four exclusive colors for the car.

Volkswagen

After five decades on sale in the U.S., Volkswagen is pulling the plug on the midsize Passat. The explosion of SUVs' popularity and the need to shift production power to electric vehicles are behind the decision, which will take place after the 2022 model year. The cars have been built at the automaker's Chattanooga, TN plant since 2011, but the facility is being repurposed as VW's North American hub for electric vehicle assembly.

Volkswagen is giving the car one last hurrah, however, in the form of the Passat Limited Edition. The car features 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with an Advanced Front Lighting System, and an easy-open trunk. Inside, the cars come with sport seats wrapped in Vienna leather, memory seating, a Fender Premium Audio System, parking assistance, and parking sensors.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition Each car gets a special model tag with its limited production number.Volkswagen


Only 1,973 of the cars will be built, and it will only be sold in four colors, each with its own limited production numbers that have special meaning for the Passat:

  • Aurora Red Metallic with Titan Black interior: 411 units to represent the original vehicle production code
  • Racing Green Metallic with Mauro Brown interior: 423 units to commemorate the Chattanooga 423 area code
  • Pure white with Mauro Brown interior: 524 units to signify the Chattanooga plant's May 24 opening date
  • Platinum Great Metallic with Titan Black interior: 615 units to signify six generations of imported Passats, one generation assembled in Chattanooga, and five decades of U.S. sales

Pricing for the 2022 Passat starts at $31,290, which includes a $995 destination fee. Adding Aurora Red Metallic drives the price up by an additional $395. Each car will receive a special number plate to designate its place in the limited production run.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition The Passat Limited Edition gets several upscale features. Volkswagen

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Electric vehicle features

The VW ID.4 sounds futuristic

The ID.4 is VW's first electric crossover in the U.S.

VW

The Volkswagen ID.4 is finally here. The electric crossover offers compelling features, decent all-electric range, and a reasonable price. On top of all that, Volkswagen focused heavily on the electric experience with the ID.4, down to the sounds it makes in everyday operation.

Where many automakers seek to humanize electric vehicles with familiar gas engine sounds, Volkswagen hasn't bothered with any of that. Instead, the automaker's ID.4 electric crossover features several sounds that embrace the EV's place in the future of transportation.

On startup, drivers are greeted with a sound that Volkswagen says will alert them that the vehicle is ready to go. It's not at all unlike the flying saucer sounds heard in sci-fi movies decades ago, but it's a nice reminder of the ID.4's future-forward drivetrain.



In motion, VW gave the ID.4 what is known as an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System, which helps alert people to the presence of a moving electric vehicle. Since the drivetrain doesn't make the same noises that a gas engine does, EVs can move almost silently at low speeds, so it's important to have some kind of warning sound.

Even the turn signal sounds received scrutiny in the ID.4's design, and while they're still fairly traditional, the sounds are subtle and pleasing overall. Beyond that, VW says it developed a library of sounds for typical vehicle control buttons and other functions that are exclusive to its electric vehicles. The goal, according to the automaker, is that the sound aligns with the vehicles' character, visual design, and features, and that people will be able to recognize a VW EV by its unique sound.

The ID.4 is just the first of several EVs that Volkswagen plans to release here in the United States. Larger family vehicles are on the horizon, and we may even see an electric revival of the legendary VW bus.

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