Volkswagen Flexes Its Muscles Beyond Electric Powertrains
Everyone loves a vintage VW Type 2, and nobody knows that better than Volkswagen itself. It’s no coincidence the company used an old 11-window model to show off some of its latest technological advancements. Yes, the Microbus has been electrified, but VW is showing that it’s thinking well beyond that now.
First, that electric motor is mated to a manual transmission, proving electrification doesn’t have to bleed all the fun out of cars. This Type 2 has been outfitted with hardware to detect as the driver approaches, then the active pneumatic suspension increases the ride height for an easier time climbing in.
Biometric access also has been integrated, something Hyundai and a few others have played with. Instead of a fingerprint reader, the Type 2 has a 720P wide-angle camera in the second driver’s side window. Just like with an iPhone X, you use your face to unlock the vehicle.
The Microbus also learns some tricks from Amazon Alexa. Three microphones allow you to use the onboard conversational digital assistant. It works both inside the vehicle and outside, which is pretty unique.
Volkswagen used generative design for certain parts on this Microbus, like the side mirrors, wheels, and steering wheel. Feeding necessary parameters to Autodesk and then letting an AI do the actual designing results in cheaper and lighter parts, plus they look like nothing a human would create.
Finally, this Type 2 has a holographic infotainment system, called Looking Glass II. 3D imagery projects from the dashboard and you don’t need special glasses to see it.
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