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February 6, 2019

More autonomous VW Passat due at Geneva

Volkswagen's Travel Assist makes its world debut in the Passat at the Geneva show. This will be the first Volkswagen capable of partially automated driving at any speed (0 to 210km/h) with this new system.

By Olly Wehring

Volkswagen ‘s Travel Assist makes its world debut in the updated Passat at the Geneva show. This will be the first Volkswagen capable of partially automated driving at any speed (0 to 210km/h) with this new system. An integral part is the ACC with predictive speed control. The adaptive cruise control reacts to speed limits, towns, bends, roundabouts and junctions with corresponding speed adaptation.

It will also be the first brand model worldwide with a capacitive steering wheel. This detects touch by the driver, providing an interactive interface to systems such as Travel Assist.

Like with the predecessor system Traffic Jam Assist, the adaptive cruise control ACC is responsible for longitudinal guidance in Travel Assist, while the Lane Assist adaptive lane guidance system handles lateral guidance Whereas this automatic longitudinal and lateral guidance system was only available up to a maximum of 60 km/h in connection with Traffic Jam Assist, the Travel Assist option enables partially automated driving up to 210 km/h. Travel Assist is activated via the multifunction steering wheel with a single button on the left-hand steering wheel clip. If Travel Assist is active, it enables partially automated driving on Level 2 of the spectrum of the official degrees of automation between 0 and 5. The driver must permanently monitor the system in Level 2 for legal and safety reasons. To ensure this, Travel Assist monitors whether the driver has hands on the steering wheel.

The capacitive steering wheel means it is now sufficient that the driver merely touches the steering wheel; the capacitive surface recognises that the driver is still controlling the vehicle by means of hands-off detection. In the past, feedback was required from the driver in the form of a slight movement of the steering wheel. If the driver lets go of the steering wheel for more than around 10 seconds, then a series of warning signals (visual, acoustic, braking jolt) are issued. The driver must react by this point at the latest and touch the steering wheel, otherwise Emergency Assist is activated and the vehicle is automatically brought to a stop.

Another new feature is Emergency Steering Assist which increases safety when performing evasive manoeuvres by means of braking interventions. New, interactive LED matrix headlights migrate from the Touareg.

The third generation of the Modular Infotainment Matrix (MIB3) also makes its debut inside the facelifted Passat. App Connect – the interface for integrating smartphone apps – now offers wireless integration of iPhone apps via Apple CarPlay. If desired, the car can be permanently online via MIB3 because the new infotainment systems come with an integrated SIM card as standard. As well as improved navigation-related services with real-time information, this encompasses new technologies and offers, music streaming services, internet radio, natural (online-based) voice control, seamless use of online services and future cloud-based portable vehicle settings. It will also be possible to use the first smartphones as a mobile key for opening and starting the car.

MIB3 is closely integrated with the new digital cockpit. The digital instruments have been considerably enhanced compared to the previous system (Active Info Display). The enhanced high-contrast graphics display is clear and high-quality. The range of functions has been enhanced and three different display configurations can now be customised via the new multifunction steering wheel with just one button.

Electric drive range has also been enhanced.

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