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April 19, 2017

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Volkswagen Group China forges partnerships with local leaders to make daily life easier as cars evolve

CARS are rapidly developing beyond being purely a source of transportation, according to Volkswagen Group China. They are moving toward a future in which they are part of a much broader connected world which provides mobility for everyone and enhances everyone’s life.

At Auto Shanghai 2017, the company outlined how it is working with its established partners and rapidly forming new partnerships with the goal of shaping that future.

At its Group Media Night on the eve of the show, Professor Dr Jochem Heizmann, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft as well as President and CEO of Volkswagen Group China, announced a new initiative to explore multi-party cooperation for a smart city together with Tongji University Shanghai, and with fast-developing cities in east China and the Yangtze Delta area.

“We are thinking far beyond transportation. Our cars are also part of a connected world where people move through life more easily in a mobile ecosystem,” he said. “In tomorrow’s smart city, integrated technology solutions, artificial intelligence, real-time analytics and smart phones merge to deliver information when people need it. Daily city life becomes freer, more relaxed and more enjoyable for all residents.”

The new partnership aims to pilot innovative smart mobility solutions, contribute to urban planning, optimize public commuting services and improve efficiency in urban transportation. 

Initially this will involve setting up a green and connected shared mobility fleet. But the future offers possibilities for a fleet of autonomous driving cars.

“Our goal for over 30 years in China has been to make mobility accessible to everyone. Now we are taking the next big step, aiming to improve the quality of life and urban traffic for all people,” Prof Dr Heizmann said. 

A glimpse of the kind of cars that will service these smart cities of the future was also presented at Auto Shanghai 2017 in the form of Sedric, Volkswagen’s first self-driving car developed at group level. It’s Volkswagen Group’s vision of how to re-invent the automobile in a completely innovative ecosystem.

Sedric demonstrates the futuristic technologies that Volkswagen expects to begin showing up in their brands’ cars of the future.

Created for level 5 autonomous driving — where a human driver is no longer required — Sedric opens the door to an integrated mobility system of the future, at the touch of a button.

It has been systematically developed to meet users’ needs: touch the OneButton and the car drives up, recognizes you and opens its doors. Get in, stow your bags and take a seat and Sedric will take you to your destination. Sedric brings into reality a way of life that has been dreamed about for generations.

Prof Dr Heizmann emphasized that partnerships were a key to developing the technologies and competencies required for the new era of sustainable mobility, and underpinned the company’s transformation under its TOGETHER — Strategy 2025.

“Over 30 years ago, Volkswagen took pioneering steps to provide the best mobility solutions for that time. Now, China is on the move again and again we are offering optimal solutions with our well established partners SAIC and FAW and creating new partnerships,” he said.

In e-mobility, Volkswagen’s potential cooperation with JAC to build pure battery cars is progressing and, subject to regulatory approvals, is ready to build its first cars for the competitive mass market segment in 2018.

Just this month, it announced a 50-50 joint venture with dynamic Chinese developer of artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology Mobvoi Inc.

“Artificial intelligence is poised to transform the way businesses operate by automating tasks in every field, making life simpler and easier and providing a gateway to mobility for everyone,” Prof Dr Heizmann said.

The new joint venture, which represents another milestone in Volkswagen Group China’s determination to work with local partners to lead the new era of digitalization and sustainable mobility solutions, will develop and apply artificial intelligence technologies to the automotive industry, with the potential to be adopted globally.

Volkswagen is continuing to pursue its goal of exciting and satisfying its customers in China, with a stunning array of premieres at Auto Shanghai 2017, its SUV offensive underway and plans to introduce 30 new models across its brands during the year.

“Under TOGETHER — Strategy 2025, we and our partners, old and new, are reshaping future mobility to make daily car use even more convenient for Chinese customers and bring individual mobility to more people,” Prof Dr Heizmann said.


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