There has been a positive buzz around Volkswagen’s announcement that it will be combining its Car-Net functions with the Alexa Voice Service.
Not only should the development help to move cars further into the 21st century, but the new technology also has the potential to make drivers safer when they are on the road. Vindis, a VW dealership, explores why with this guide…
Volkswagen Car-Net under the spotlight
Volkswagen Car-Net refers to everything that can be found in terms of in-car internet connectivity on the German manufacturer’s vehicles. So, whether it is hi-tech maps to help you get from A to B, streamed music to make every journey a lot more entertaining, or even innovative means of monitoring what’s going on between back seat passengers – this is all covered within Car-Net.
Here’s the two main parts of the Car-Net system:
Security & Service
The Security & Service part of the Car-Net system is there to give you plenty of peace of mind whenever you’re behind the wheel. This is through the inclusion of features such as:
- Emergency Call Service — You don’t want to think about a serious incident but with Emergency Call Service, at least rest assured that your vehicle will automatically call for help in a situation where the driver may be unable to.
- Breakdown Call — One press of a button and Volkswagen will make a call for breakdown assistance to the Volkswagen Roadside Assistance service. No need to know where you are, have a phone reception or even memorise a phone number!
- Vehicle Health Report — This presents you with any existing warning messages or service events before you begin driving, avoiding unwanted surprises during a journey.
Guide & Inform
Never feel disconnected with the rest of the world when driving with the Guide & Inform aspects of the Car-Net system. Designed to keep you better informed with the stuff that matters to you whenever you’re driving when working with Volkswagen’s Discover Navigation infotainment system, features include:
- News — You select the news feeds that interest you and then the latest stories are imported from the customer portal to your Volkswagen as the headlines break.
- Weather — You can receive the latest weather conditions for both your current location and the destination you have in mind (with expected time of arrival also considered). No more needing to listen to what the weather is like on the other side of the country!
- Online traffic information — Just like with the weather, you can keep informed about the current traffic situation, both on the road you’re on and others you’re likely to venture onto.
- Fuel information — It can be worrying seeing the low fuel light flick on when you’re not familiar with an area. Fortunately, the ‘Fuel Info’ search function will let you know of all nearby filling stations, when they are open and how much the fuel prices are.
- Parking information — Wave goodbye to driving around a city looking for what feels like the last available parking spot by using the ‘Parking Info’ feature. It will inform you of all free parking spaces in your vicinity, as well as opening times and prices.
Analysing how Alexa Voice Service will combine with VW Car-Net
Especially if you are a business person, it is likely that you will have come across this scenario. Part way through a journey alone, you suddenly remember something that you need to do once you reach your destination. Obviously, writing when driving is dangerous, and there is nowhere for you to stop to jot down a reminder – and no-one there to write down your task. You decide that the best course of action is to keep the errand in your mind until you stop driving. However, a few distractions are encountered throughout the remainder of your drive and by the time you’ve parked up, you’ve completely forgotten what the task was.
You may soon be able to keep this kind of annoyance to a minimum when the Alexa Voice Service combines with Volkswagen Car-Net. This is because you will have the opportunity to schedule appointments and plan errands by informing the system simply through the power of your voice.
You won’t even need to be in your car to see the benefits of the technology. For example, you can program a voice command such as “Alexa, ask Volkswagen the way to the nearest flower shop” when you’re at home and then hear the message come through when you’re next behind the wheel.
How will the technology help make drivers safer?
We can’t think of a better time for such advancements in in-car connectivity to be announced. This is because on March 1st 2017, the Government doubled the penalty for getting caught to six points on your driving licence and a £200 fine. You are at risk of getting caught any time you pick up a mobile phone and operate it while driving (that includes waiting in traffic or at traffic lights).
Fortunately, in-car connectivity like that being introduced through the Alexa Voice Service with VW Car-Net combination should assist in keeping a driver’s hands off their phone.
This step is much needed, if recent research surrounding the new road laws are anything to go by. For instance, a survey of over 1,000 motorists carried out by price comparison site MyCarNeedsA.com revealed that 20 per cent admitted to making calls when driving, six per cent checked social media and two per cent texted.
These statistics, reported on by FleetNews, also included the fact that when stuck in traffic, 66 per cent of drivers said they have texted, 37 per cent have checked social media and 18 per cent have made calls.
The Independent reported on Press Association figures that highlight this issue even further. The stats reveal that close to 6,000 drivers have been caught illegally using their mobile phones in the four weeks since March 1st — one motorist every seven minutes.
“Driving is a safety-critical activity that requires our full attention. Hands need to be on the wheel and eyes looking out of the windscreen, not down at the phone screen,” commented Steve Gooding, the RAC Foundation’s director.