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Smart Mobility for Shanghai

Video: Volkswagen Group at Auto Shanghai 2017

New models, new partnerships, new technologies: the Volkswagen Group is shaping the transition to the mobility world of tomorrow in the key sales market of China. The Group showcased at the Auto Shanghai 2017 a large number of new models including three electric world premieres.


Anyone passing through Shanghai feels like they are surrounded by giants, with modern glass titans and older concrete goliaths everywhere you look. After the boom of the last three decades, almost 20 million people are now living in the Shanghai urban area – making real estate an extremely valuable commodity.

At the new World Financial Center, the city proudly shows visitors a film of how Shanghai was able to rapidly overtake other megacities such as New York and Tokyo. But where so many people live in such a relatively small area, mobility quickly becomes a burning issue. The Volkswagen Group has therefore entered into a partnership with Tongji University Shanghai and other aspiring Chinese cities to develop concepts for the smart city of the future.

Professor Ma Jun is head of the Faculty for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Tongji University. He describes the traffic situation in Shanghai as an extremely complex system that involves cars, buses and the subway system, but also includes the airport, the ubiquitous rental bikes and the city’s unique maglev train.

“During this partnership, we will be analyzing traffic flows and using the findings to come up with recommendations for the city planners.”

Professor Ma Jun

But one thing is already clear – the smart city of the future will be more networked than ever before. For example, capturing traffic data and analyzing it in real-time would make it possible to send people smart phone messages about an arriving subway train or a free parking space in their vicinity. “We want to use this cooperation to develop systems of this kind and contribute to improving the traffic situation in cities,” explains Jochem Heizmann, Board of Management member of the Volkswagen Group with responsibility for China.

Concrete solutions for Smart City Shanghai could include a shared mobility scheme in which several users are able to share a vehicle by exploiting intelligent route planning. 

“In setting up a suitable fleet of vehicles, we will be able to use the experience we have gathered from our partnership projects in Hamburg and Barcelona. Our medium-term goal is to use fully-automated vehicles.”

Prof Dr Jochem Heizmann

Possibilities of Intelligent Mobility

“Here at Volkswagen, we aim to lead the way into a new era of mobility. This is why we are intensifying our efforts and increasing our investments in the key innovation areas of digitalization and full-automation.”

Ulrich Eichhorn Head of R&D

Sedric is to be developed even further in a new joint venture with Mobvoi, a Chinese start-up that develops software for voice control and voice recognition. Volkswagen Group and Mobvoi aim to employ artificial intelligence to come up with new mobility concepts, products for vehicle applications, and personal digital assistants.

“This partnership is a great example of Volkswagen’s determination to develop new technology solutions for personal mobility in collaboration with innovative Chinese technology companies such as Mobvoi.”

Prof Dr Jochem Heizmann

Volkswagen OneButton

The Volkswagen OneButton is the link between the user and Sedric. It is the key to a completely new mobility experience. This is because a single touch of the button guarantees mobility for everyone, at any time, and at any location. The control element is made up of a button to press and a ring which indicates Sedric’s arrival time with colored signals and a vibration signal that guides a person with impaired vision to the car.

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