MIB-II infotainment system also supporting Android Auto, VW app suite
As promised roughly a year after CarPlay was unveiled, German car maker Volkswagen is now shipping automobiles that include a next-generation infotainment system called MIB-II that includes support for both CarPlay and Android Auto along with its own proprietary suite of Car-Net apps, the latter of which requires a subscription. The company says that all but its entry-level models will feature the new MIB-II system.
Celebrities bashing iPhone maker accidentally reveal state-run ruse
An attempt by China Central Television (CCTV) to paint Apple and Volkswagen in a bad light through a celebrity-driven Sina Weibo campaign has backfired badly on the state-run media outlet after one of the celebrities posting an "Apple-bashing" post accidentally included an instruction on when to post from the TV station alongside his prepared talking point. This prompted observant citizens to notice that a raft of celebrities had posted similar messages and posted around the same time, prompting ridicule from Weibo users.
Nevada first to allow autonomous vehicle testing
Nevada is the first US state that has approved the use of self-driving cars on its road system, such as those being developed by Google. The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles' Legislative Commission approved the regulations earlier this week. The autonomous test vehicles will need to have a red license plate attached until green plates arrive and signal public use.
Company contact outside of work hours limited
In a concession to its workers who are provided with a company BlackBerry, Volkswagen has agreed to limit how late or early it will send them e-mails on their devices. The company has reached an agreement with the employee works council not send messages to them either 30 minutes after their shift ends or 30 minutes before the next work day begins. The pact covers over 1,000 VW employees who have been provided with BlackBerrys.
VW Bulli concept brings iPad for media features
VW used the start of the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday to bring out a concept with the iPad as a central feature. The Bulli concept recalls the Microbus but has Apple's tablet as the center stack. Along with serving as a media player and an Internet source, the iPad fills in as control for Bluetooth phone calls and GPS navigation, our teammates at Leftlane News learned.
Titanium edition limited to 500 pieces
Leica has unveiled a special edition camera, the M9 Titanium, which was featured at a special event in Cologne. The camera is an upgraded version of the semi-professional M9, extensively constructed from titanium and designed in collaboration with Volkswagen. Leather trim, LED-illuminated frame lines, and fingerprint resistant overlays distinguish the special edition from its basic counterpart.
Audi car to get Google 3D map data, search
Google today revealed that the Audi A8 will be the first regular production car whose GPS system will use Google Earth for data. The implementation will give the luxury sedan Google's 3D terrain data and satellite imagery to provide a more realistic view of driving directions when requested. Importantly, it will also bring some of Google's search features: among the extras will be the ability to push a destination or a business entry to the A8's GPS unit and have directions ready.
Autonet Intent comes to VW
German automaker VW and Autonet Mobile on Tuesday announced they will collaborate to bring the uconnect web in-car Internet service to VW's Routan minivan. Later in June, all Volkswagen dealerships across the United States will be able to outfit new Routan minivans with the option. While specifics of how the system operates haven't been announced, similar systems from Autonet are available in Chrysler vehicles and Cadillac. The 3G mobile data modem runs on EVDO and gives users downloads between 400Kbps to 800Kbps and uploads at roughly 400Kbps. This allows for live audio and video streaming as well as online gaming, Autonet claims.
Apple, VW talks on hold?
Negotiations between Apple and Volkswagen are at a halt, a German business publication suggests. The companies' respective CEOs, Steve Jobs and Martin Winterkorn, are said to have met in August to discuss the prospect of an "iCar," which would integrate Apple products directly into the design; now however, Capital magazine claims that although Volkswagen later confirmed exploratory talks, these have suddenly stopped. "The project is shaky," say the magazine's business sources.