Group Management Report

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Sustainable mobility, connectivity and automated driving

The mobility of people and goods is a prerequisite for economic growth and social development. But natural resources are dwindling and climate change is advancing. This calls for comprehensive mobility concepts to minimize the environmental impact. Such solutions need to be efficient, sustainable, crisis-proof, customer-oriented and accessible anytime and anywhere.

We are researching and developing such concepts in our Group-wide alliance: when shaping the future of mobility, we are looking not only at the automobile and related services, but at all modes of transport, transport infrastructures and people’s mobility habits. Digital connectivity and automated driving allow for completely new approaches to solving problems. They can help us play our part in a comprehensive mobility system for the future and drive forward our industry’s transformation.

New software solutions are the basis for this. This is why the Volkswagen Group has declared software development to be one of its target core competencies in its NEW AUTO strategy. Our software subsidiary CARIAD is responsible for this. It is to develop a sustainable, convenient, connected, safe automotive experience for the customers of our Group brands. CARIAD aims to provide answers to the strategic aspects of digitalization and pool the Group’s software expertise.

Developers from CARIAD work at plants in Germany and Europe and collaborate with development teams from the Volkswagen Group in North America. CARIAD established a subsidiary in China in 2022. Its mission of ‘In China for China’ allows the local development teams to sharpen their focus on the wishes of Chinese customers. CARIAD SE employs around 5,500 specialists who are developing the following solutions in the Group:

  • VW.OS, a uniform software platform for all Group vehicles
  • Uniform end-to-end electronics architectures
  • Connectivity with VW.AC, a uniform Volkswagen Automotive Cloud
  • An infotainment platform with an app store for third-party providers
  • Driver assistance systems, automated parking functions and highly automated driving for private mobility
  • A data marketplace
  • New mobility services and digital business models

In 2022, the teams of developers from CARIAD worked closely together with the Audi and Porsche brands to complete the E3 1.2 architecture that will optimize the alignment of the hardware with CARIAD’s vehicle software. This is designed not only to improve the performance of the vehicle’s computers but also to make it easier to install over-the-air updates – a key lever for the introduction of new services – even after vehicle production has begun.

CARIAD is already supplying updatable software for current vehicle generations on its E3 1.1 architecture to the Group brands with the goal of making the software secure and traceable. It is already being installed in the vehicles as over-the-air updates.

In the long term, CARIAD is to pool all of its solutions on an enhanced, scalable software platform that will be made available to the Group brands, from the volume segment up to the premium platform. This is expected to generate economies of scale and to lower the cost of growing software requirements in the vehicle for all brands.

The new platform is also set to pave the way for the autonomous driving functions of the future. The development of autonomous driving is a core element of the NEW AUTO strategy, with CARIAD responsible for developing partially and highly automated driving functions (up to Level 4) for the Volkswagen Group’s brands. These applications will be progressively introduced in their new vehicle models at different performance levels (Levels 2+, 3 or 4). Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is responsible specifically for the areas of Mobility as a Service and Transportation as a Service (MaaS/TaaS). The strategic Mobility Solutions technology initiative is promoting autonomous driving in conjunction with new service models, i.e. shared mobility in these areas using robotic shuttles and vans.

CARIAD and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will continue to drive the future rollout of autonomous drive technologies together with development partners.