• Apr 27th 2010 at 5:27PM
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Volkswagen is taking a page from the Apple playbook by inviting software developers to help shape the face of the automaker's infotainment systems. The German manufacturer is holding an "App My Ride" contest where anyone can submit an application that they think would work well in future VW products. The ultimate goal is to put a little more control into the hands of the company's customers in order to create an infotainment system that's functional and easy to use, but there's also around $18,600 worth of prizes on the table for the best apps.

On May 3rd, VW will launch a new web site where users can upload their apps and submit ideas. Volkswagen is hoping that a collaborative community will spring from the project where developers can discuss apps the company currently uses as well as hone their concepts.

In order to jump into the fray, you'll need to come up with an idea for your very own app, a graphic design of the user interface and the appropriate programming in Adobe Flash or Flex. As part of the contest, VW is offering winning students a unique opportunity to study with the Volkswagen Research Group in Tokyo, Shanghai, California or Wolfsburg.

Winners will be picked by the "App My Ride" community and a panel of VW execs. One lucky developer will get to take part in a special vehicle unveil with their flight and hotel on the Volkswagen tab on top of cash prizes. Make the jump for the full press release.

[Source: VW]

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Volkswagen invites users to help create the Infotainment systems of the future

Open Innovation Contest, "App My Ride", begins on 3rd May

Wolfsburg, 26 April 2010 - Volkswagen is inviting designers, programmers, developers and interested users to help develop applications for the Infotainment systems of the future as part of the Open Innovation Contest, "App My Ride". With this contest, Volkswagen has become the first car manufacturer to use the idea of open innovation for the further development of its products.

In the so-called "App My Ride" competition, users can jointly develop new Infotainment applications with Volkswagen. A jury of experts will select the winner whose creativity will be rewarded with special prizes. "Our aim is to invite the international developer community to take part in designing a future system," says Prof. Dr Jürgen Leohold, Head of the Volkswagen Group Research. So-called apps, also known as application programmes for certain devices which are available through an online shop, have helped to contribute to the smartphone boom. Applications designed by users (User Generated Content) are of central importance to the boom and are made available online by other users. Companies like Apple and Google successfully aid this nearly inexhaustible source of innovation.

"A quiet revolution is taking place right now," explains Dr Johann Füller, CEO of the innovation agency partner to Volkswagen through the "App My Ride" competition, Hyve AG. "The customer-orientated culture of the internet places an enormous power in the hands of the users. Leading organisations are starting to harness this power to develop better solutions and increase their competitiveness." Exactly what the "App My Ride" contest is targeting.

Currently a prototype for Volkswagen's Infotainment system is being developed in which Flash applications designed by different creators can be accumulated. In order to research the potential of apps for the vehicle Infotainment system, Volkswagen is trying to produce the most varied collection of applications possible.

An "innovation community" open to all internet users will be created as of 3rd May 2010 for the competition under the following URL: app-my-ride.volkswagen.com. Here, participants in the competition can log in and either load programmed apps or send in their creative ideas for future ones. "The participants are supposed to imagine what the purpose of their ideal Infotainment system is and how it would work and now they have the opportunity to make it a reality. At the same time, you can analyse the existing apps on our platform and discuss their design, uses and purposes," explains Dr Peter Oel, Head of "Control Designs and Drivers" of Volkswagen Group Research.

To develop an app, the participants must have the following:
- An idea for an app to be installed in a vehicle
- Graphic design of the user interface
- Programming in Adobe Flash / Flex

The purpose, design and logical construction of the app should be geared towards the possible requirements of drivers and other occupants.

The participant's creativity will be rewarded at the end of the competition. The most innovative application will be chosen by the "App My Ride" community and a jury consisting of Volkswagen managers and external experts. Besides cash and non-cash prizes worth up to €14,000, a special prize for students will also be awarded. This involves a placement within Volkswagen Group Research in Tokyo, Shanghai, California or Wolfsburg. Moreover, the winner of the competition can also expect an exclusive trip to take part in an international vehicle presentation which covers the costs of the flight and hotel.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      It would be cool if the cars came with an iPhone like in the picture above. If they did do that and it had a radio tuner, a REAL turn by turn navigation, an app for an information center for warnings and give vehicle info like oil temp, tire pressure, etc, etc. Then have them all accessible via steering wheel controls and then have a HUD mirroring whats on the iPhone you wouldn't need anything else!

      P.S. Keep the HVAC controls out like in the picture above.
      • 5 Years Ago
      In the future, technology and seamless interiors are much more important than cupholders.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Has Honda/Acura ever updated their nav/infotainment systems yet? They seem to still be using a very old system, at an improper resolution for the screens they use, even today. Everyone else seems to have developed a decent looking system with decent resolutions and screens.
        • 5 Years Ago
        nope. but you could have said the same for vw up until the RNS-510 came out about a year ago. Now they're ahead of the pac in their class, mostly, unless you count that windows ce based sync noise which does more but is a lot less resolved and polished.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And where's GM? You can't even get a basic nav in most of their cars.

        Note to VW: See Ford Sync. Copy/Paste.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Clearly VW got the name 'E-Up' from saying 'Good day' in a Yorkshire dialect..
      • 5 Years Ago
      well most people who drive VW's smell like the inside of a gym bag, so the interior is fitting.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, because most VW owners are the same.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think I see a digital dash! hooray! I am sick of buried dials, they are obsolete!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why worry about trivial things such as driving when you can have your non-stop need to be entertained satisfied.... oops... did I just hit someone.... oh well, back to my apps.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is fantastic news! I'm glad to see that Ford isn't the only manufacturer that's realized that car infotainment systems are about 10 years behind current technology.

      It's a strange world when people say that the iPad is overprice, and yet are willing to pay over $1,000 more for a navigation system that is an order of magnitude LESS sophisticated.

      If Apple and HP can produce a device that can do everything a desktop computer can do (for the most part), and produce it for about $500, it shows into sharp relief what a ripoff current generation nav systems are.

      More power to them!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Try finding the latest micro that can survive automotive specs...that's why what's in your car lags what's on your desktop...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well ... there are a LOT of things that you can do on a desktop computer that you can't do on an iPad, and you can buy a desktop computer for less than $500 if you haven't had your brain clouded by Steve Jobs' marketing genius.

        If none of that made sense, then please disregard and enjoy the Apple Tax.

        Ford - using Microsoft's framework - is light years ahead of everyone in this segment.
        • 5 Years Ago
        vags never not realized that, go use an mmi based product.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Now your passenger can shift you into neutral AND turn on the hazards at the same time!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      All I need is an in-dash iPad dock.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Please please please.. don't make it reliant on anyone's 'gadgets (iPhone)....
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, somehow I missed renderings of the Up's interior before. That looks fantastic!
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