VW to spend bil­lions to trans­form cars, start ‘We Share’ ser­vice

Calgary Herald - - FINANCIAL POST -

FRANK­FURT Volkswagen will in­vest 3.5 bil­lion eu­ros by 2025 to build digital busi­nesses and prod­ucts in­clud­ing a cloud com­put­ing-based plat­form to con­nect ve­hi­cles and cus­tomers to of­fer ser­vices such as car shar­ing.

Volkswagen also said Thurs­day it would launch a car-shar­ing busi­ness, called “We Share,” in Berlin us­ing a fleet of 2,000 elec­tric cars in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2019.

The We Share ser­vice will ex­pand in core Euro­pean mar­kets as well as se­lected ci­ties in the United States and Canada, the car­maker said.

The Ger­man au­tomaker said it was work­ing on a new soft­ware op­er­at­ing sys­tem, to be known as “vw.OS,” which will be in­tro­duced in VW brand elec­tric cars from 2020 on­ward.

Rather than hav­ing around 70 dif­fer­ent sen­sors and con­trollers op­er­at­ing in­de­pen­dently within each ve­hi­cle, the new cars will con­nect the var­i­ous sen­sors us­ing the new pro­pri­etary soft­ware op­er­at­ing sys­tem.

This way, in­for­ma­tion gath­ered by a park­ing sen­sor could be linked to the steer­ing, brakes, and high­def­i­ni­tion maps to al­low a car to park it­self once an on-board cam­era spots a free park­ing space.

VW said it was eas­ier to do over- the-air soft­ware up­dates for cars if the op­er­at­ing sys­tem was de­signed in-house, rather than de­pend­ing on third-party soft­ware sup­plied by the dif­fer­ent ven­dors pro­vid­ing var­i­ous sen­sors.

VW said it ex­pects to gen­er­ate around one bil­lion eu­ros in sales by 2025 from of­fer­ing new digital ser­vices in­clud­ing car-shar­ing, park­ing and par­cel de­liv­ery ser­vices.

The digital push in­cludes em­bed­ding smart­phone ap­pli­ca­tions like “We Park” into car in­fo­tain­ment sys­tems and con­nect­ing ve­hi­cles with ven­dors like Ama­zon that can use an app to open cars so they can be used as de­liv­ery lo­ca­tions, VW said.

JENS SCHLUETER/GETTY IM­AGES

Volkswagen e-Golf elec­tric cars will be used in the com­pany’s new “We Share” fleet to be rolled out in Berlin.

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