Volkswagen has brought out its e-Golf Touch at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a follow up to last year’s Golf R Touch concept. The e-Golf serves as a preview of Volkswagen’s next-generation infotainment system, where instead of using buttons exclusively to interact with said system, gestures are used instead.
Unlike last year’s concept that served more as a teaser of things to come, the e-Golf Touch, dubbed a “smartphone on wheels”, is an early series-production preview of this new control technology, which will actually make its way into future production vehicles soon.
The e-Golf Touch is fitted with the latest generation of Volkswagen’s Modular Infotainment Toolkit (MIB) infotainment system with a 9.2-inch touchscreen display that has a resolution of 1,280×640 pixels. The MIB system captures the gesture control via a proximity sensor that allows you to “wave” your hand across the screen to play the next song, for instance.
Greeting the driver and the front passenger are four touch-sensitive buttons on the left side of the screen with a single power/volume dial. Those are the only tactile controls that are available, and the only other way to interact with the system is via hand gestures or the next-gen voice control technology with “Keyword Activation” voice recognition function. Familiar with “Hello Siri”? Try “Hello Volkswagen”.
The screen’s available real estate (8.2-inch wide, 4.1-inch high) is divided into two configurable tiles. Each tile area, sized 1.7 inches high and 2.4 inches wide can be assigned any of ten different functions. This includes displaying the current media (song, album art) being played alongside phone functions and/or navigation.
If needed, the entire home screen can be filled with one sole function like displaying the full navigation map or work in tandem with smartphone integration platforms such as MirrorLink, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, through Volkswagen’s Car-Net App-Connect interface. The e-Golf Touch is also catered towards the more tech-savvy individual, with an inductive charging system for mobile phones (located below the air-con controls) and USB Type C port beside it.
In addition to the new infotainment unit, the e-Golf Touch also gets a new digital instrument cluster akin to the Audi Virtual Cockpit in the third-gen Audi TT. Here, it is a 12.3-inch screen, called the Active Info Display, with a resolution of 1,440×540 pixels.
Volkswagen also took the time to introduce additional functions that will feature in its future models. The first involves an expanded range of functionality for the Exit Screen, offering personalised, simplified access (one touch) to functions relevant to the real world like programming the auxiliary heating system within a matter of seconds.
Personalisation 2.0 meanwhile, introduces “user accounts” for cars that are saved to the cloud via Volkswagen Car-Net ID, allowing a driver to load up their preferred settings into the infotainment system so that everything remains just the way they want it to be.
Volkswagen’s rear-seat infotainment system app, Media Control, Generation 3.0, will allow passengers to control various function via a tablet device, like video streaming between tablets, remote control of the media that is playing on tablets via the infotainment system and audio streaming a playlist via tablet or smartphone to the infotainment system.