VW Realigns Tech Development For Shorter Product Cycles And Faster Digital Offerings

VW Realigns Tech Development For Shorter Product Cycles And Faster Digital Offerings

Volkswagen is realigning its Technical Development (TD) division, turning it into a “pace-setter” for the brand’s transformation into a technology company.

The emphasis is on a complete redesign of the development process, making it interdisciplinary, focused on software, customer requirements and SSP, Volkswagen’s electric platform of the future, and centred on functions rather than individual components. Volkswagen expects to cut development time by about a quarter, increase the speed of new software releases, and significantly accelerate manufacturing processes in production.

“If the car is increasingly becoming an electrically driven software product, then its development must also evolve in all dimensions,” said Thomas Ulbrich, member of the Board of Management responsible for Technical Development. “We are making TD more connected and more efficient by focusing our processes and organisation on systems and functions rather than on components.”

According to Ulbrich, vehicle projects will be completed in 40 months from the point at which the basic software architecture is in place, instead of 54 months currently.

The transformation will also become visible outside the Group, at the Campus Sandkamp development centre planned for Wolfsburg, which will house more than 4000 employees and be a flagship project for the future of work at Volkswagen. The project house will act as an umbrella for design, conceptualisation, user experience, product strategy, model series, technical project management and project team members from Purchasing, Finance, Production Planning, Quality Assurance and Sales.

Volkswagen said the integration centre will ensure short, efficient approval and decision-making paths between the different divisions. Its innovative testing and simulation infrastructure and the open design of the collaboration areas will provide a first-rate environment for active systems engineering. New, agile development methods and a state-of-the-art working environment will enable TD to take on a pioneering role in Volkswagen’s overall transformation.

“We will spend €800 million on making Campus Sandkamp the most cutting-edge vehicle development centre in the world. In this way, we are highlighting that TD is ratcheting up the pace of transforming Volkswagen into a tech company,” said Ulbrich.

According to Volkswagen, the growing connectivity of vehicles aimed at achieving “seamless integration into the digital ecosystem and the consistent focus on the user experience” necessitates a redesign of the development process. The starting point in vehicle development is the new functions catering to customers’ needs, meaning the new development process will focus on functions and systems rather than components. This is known as systems engineering, a common approach in complex development projects in industries such as aircraft construction.

“Now and in the future, the vehicle must be viewed as one system in the customer’s entire ecosystem and communicate seamlessly with all systems outside the vehicle,” Volkswagen said. “To this end, the experts from different specialist units clarify requirements and interdependencies at an early stage and ensure that systems and components are configured and designed appropriately so that all these functions can mesh seamlessly.”