Volkswagen has established a specialised “AI Lab” – a new business unit and company – that will act as a globally networked competence centre and incubator, it says
The ‘AI Lab’ will identify new product ideas for the Volkswagen Group, and coordinate them internally within the Group. According to needs, VW says this will also include collaboration with the tech sector in Europe, China and North America.
By adopting this approach, the Volkswagen Group says it intends to simplify collaboration with technology companies with a view to making optimum use of the innovation potential and speed of the AI sector. The objective is to rapidly develop digital prototypes and transfer them to VW Group brands for implementation.
“We want to offer our customers genuine added value with artificial intelligence. We aim to link external digital ecosystems with the vehicle, creating an even better product experience,” says Oliver Blume, CEO of the Volkswagen Group and Porsche AG. “Collaboration with technology companies is crucially important for us. In future, we intend to simplify cooperation in organisational and cultural terms.”
Volkswagen aims to bring AI products to the vehicle and vehicle environment
The Volkswagen Group also says it is committed to continually integrating new digital products with artificial intelligence in its vehicles and offering customers added value going beyond their cars.
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Among other items, Volkswagen sees considerable potential in high-performance speech recognition and services that connect users’ own digital environments with the vehicle. Extended vehicle functions will be equally important, it says. These can include AI-optimised charging cycles for electric vehicles, predictive maintenance and the networking of vehicles with infrastructure, such as customers’ own homes (“smart home”).
AI Lab to identify product ideas and rapidly produce prototypes
AI Lab will not manufacture production models, but will serve as an incubator for the Volkswagen Group. The company will identify new product ideas connected with artificial intelligence throughout the world. AI Lab will then develop concepts together with partners where the need arises, to produce early prototypes. AI Lab will have a team of artificial intelligence experts and will work closely with all the brands. High-ranking representatives of the brand groups will form the Supervisory Board.
VW says AI Lab’s slim and powerful organisation and the direct involvement of the brand groups in the Supervisory Board will enable communication among equal partners in the dynamic AI sector, expedite processes and simplify collaboration between the automotive industry and tech companies.
“With our new ‘AI Lab’, we are combining technological expertise, flexibility and speed in collaboration with external partners. This will be crucial in the highly dynamic AI sector,” says Michael Steiner, Head of Research and Development of the Volkswagen Group and Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development of Porsche AG. “We will pursue highly promising initiatives in the marketplace, together with partners where this is necessary, irrespective of existing arrangements and other links in series production.”
VW also says that exploratory talks on the first products are already under way with international tech companies.
The Board of Management of AI Lab will include Carsten Helbing as CEO and Carmen Schmidt as CLO & CBO. Recognised artificial intelligence experts will be responsible for technical management functions, it says. The Supervisory Board will consist of members of the Boards of Management of the Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche brands.