Gesture controls, piloted parking, and CarPlay: VW unloads a techy ton at CES

And here we were thinking VW was just an economical car company.

Vee-dub just dropped a massive amount of technological highlights here at CES 2015 from inductive charging to gesture-based infotainment controls. Now, let’s waste no time and dig right in.

MirrorLink

First up and perhaps most interesting of all is the announcement rollout VW’s next-gen infotainment system, which will be called MirrorLink, late this year. MirrorLink will be the second version of the German automaker’s “modular infotainment platform” (MIB II) in the United States.

The system will critically be able to integrate smartphone apps — including Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony — into the in-dash infotainment system. This, if you’re keeping track at home, sounds awfully similar to Jaguar’s justDrive app, which was unveiled at the Connected Car Conference before the LA Auto Show last year. When it is launched, MirrorLink will also enable to the rollout of both Apple’s CarPlay integration and also Google’s Android Auto for VW owners.

This is wholly good news for buyers, as we’ve found the brand’s current infotainment system rather lacking.

Golf R Touch – gesture controls

Keeping on the infotainment front, VW has also demonstrated its move from touchscreen to fully touch-less gesture-based controls for future infotainment systems. Shown in the Golf R Touch concept, drivers will be able to control their media, climate, and other systems without ever gumming up their pristine infotainment screen.

“The Golf R Touch is equipped with three displays: the 12.8-inch high-resolution infotainment system touchscreen; a Control Center (8.0-inch with touch feedback) arranged beneath it to control vehicle, climate control and media functions; and an Active Information Display (digitalized instruments, 12.3-inch),” VW brags in its press release.

The system uses both proximity sensors – something that VW has implemented in its cars for several years – and also onboard, interior cameras, which watch occupants hands for certain movements.

Sure, this might seem gimmicky, but it’s a surefire way to keep drivers’ attention on the road ahead. After all, it’s easier to gesture in the air than to refocus your eyes on a screen, seek out a button, and reach out to accurately push it.

Piloted parking

First demonstrated by Volvo a few years ago, piloted parking – a concept in which a driver gets dropped off by their car while the vehicle autonomously ventures forth to find a parking spot and waits for the driver to call the car back via smart phone – is now becoming a hot topic for automakers.

VW is no different. While some of its models will already use sensors and cameras to assist drivers in parking in a tight spot, VW is now showing a car that will – as mentioned above – will park itself in a familiar, mapped parking lot.

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