Understanding CARIAD and its Role Within the Fast-Evolving Volkswagen Group

Understanding CARIAD and its Role Within the Fast-Evolving Volkswagen Group


May 2023

What currently defines your favourite Volkswagen from all the other vehicles on the road? Is it the way it makes you feel when behind the wheel, the way it sounds or, even, the attention it garners in the traffic? What makes your VW unique in your eyes?

As part of its New Auto strategy, Volkswagen is planning to harness the potential of modern in-car software to add even more layers to the way you engage with your car, from the way it “greets” you in the morning, to how it complements your day-to-day life and even how it keeps you safe on the road. Indeed, software development and the corresponding relationship between a car and its owner is fast becoming one of the most important tools within any car brand’s arsenal.

Founded as Car.Software in 2020 and since rebranded as CARIAD, as the software powerhouse of the Volkswagen Group, this company operates out of strategic hubs around the globe, currently employing 6 500 developers that represent 90 nationalities.

Understanding CARIAD and its Role Within the Fast-Evolving Volkswagen Group

With a mandate to “bundle and further expand the software competencies of the Volkswagen Group,” CARIAD’s developers have been working on everything from workflow and supply chain management to ensure optimised efficiencies within the vehicle production process, the continuous gathering of real-world data from cars already on the road, understanding how best to build an interactive relationship between you and your VW and building the brand’s all-new One.Infotainment system with its independent App store for improved, focused functionality. Crucially, they have also been enhancing the impressive software already overseeing the brand’s IQ.Drive driver assistance systems.

The significance for you as the proud Volkswagen owner of the largely behind-the-scenes work being carried out by CARIAD is that it unlocks a world of possibilities in terms of how you’ll live with your car. From over-the-air, overnight software updates that could add any number of new features – or increased EV range – to seamlessly syncing your vehicle with the preferences of your interactive home space, your day-to-day calendar and your mobile phone.

Fully charged and with the climate control already set to consider the forecast weather for the day, you start your car to the same playlist you were singing along to in the shower earlier. Reversing out of your driveway, the destination of your scheduled weekly gym class is already set within the vehicle’s navigation, with the system suggesting the most efficient route, based on prevailing traffic conditions. Closer to your destination, the system has already identified an available parking bay and let your gym partner know via their mobile phone to begin warming up.

Leaving the gym monitors the car’s steering wheel pick-up that your heart rate is more elevated than usual for this time of day, and the system alerts you to the possibility that your body is taking strain. Should it navigate the most efficient route to the hospital, or simply switch on the car’s seat massage function?

“With continuous, data-driven development, we don’t have to make every decision right now. Thanks to technology such as over-the-air updates, we have the ability to improve the car over its entire lifetime, keeping it fresh for years to come. And, what’s more, our Big Loop solution allows us to analyse data from our massive vehicle fleet to develop updates, as well as entirely new features, based on real customer usage. Ultimately, what we develop will always be driven by the customer’s preferences,” says Riclef Schmidt-Clausen, Head of Intelligent Cockpit & Body at CARIAD.

Understanding CARIAD and its Role Within the Fast-Evolving Volkswagen Group