Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen design, said the ID Vizzion unveiled at the Geneva show today previews a production electric car that will appear in 2022 – albeit with a steering wheel and pedals. Full autonomous technology won’t be ready within that timeframe, but VW will launch its ID family of electric vehicles with as much advanced driver assistance as possible, starting with the ID hatchback at the tail end of 2019.
Bischoff said the technology suite will include an optional augmented reality system – an enlarged and smarter cousin to today’s head-up displays.
“It will cover a big width in front of the driver and will provide a very deep view,” Bischoff explained. “You will see information up to 15 metres in front of the car.” By which he means an apparent 15 metres – the augmented display will layer information over the view ahead up to that distance.
And to qualify as augmented reality digital information needs to be spliced into the driver’s view rather than floating in front of it. To do that, the imagery must be rapidly adjusted in real time according to three distinct sets of variables: the view ahead, the pitching and rolling motions of the car as well as its forward travel; and changes in the driver’s viewpoint. This will require cameras to monitor the driver’s face as well as the outside world.
Bischoff said his design team has been drawn into the development this kind of technology because it will dictate important aspects of the interior of cars like the ID Vizzion.
The ID Vizzion is a tall sedan with a spacious interior, notable for what appear to be large slabs of solid wood encircling the occupants.
“This is a new technology for treating wood,” Bischoff said. “It's cut into very thin slices and then glued together again. And this is able to be shaped in very deep concave shapes. Normally you can bend veneers only in one direction, but this you can bend in two.”
He added that this veneer technology is already production ready. “The only issue is cost,” he said. “But we have this technology applied in the new Touareg, which premieres at the end of this month. In a small amount, but it’s the same technology.”