Channel4 was given a look into the future brought to you by VW, and -- no surprise -- the people's car company has a lot cooking, especially in the safety, alternative fuel, fun factor, and driving departments.
There are two new engine concepts, one called the Combined Combustion System (CCS), which works like a diesel, except that it eliminates particulates as it mixes the fuel and air. While there are working prototypes of the engine, to run properly it needs a synthetic fuel that isn't available yet... but which VW is also working on, called SunFuel, which is made from biomass or processed plant straw. That kind of fuel, however, isn't expected before 2015. A more near-term engine solution is called Gasoline Compression Ignition (GCI). It switches between the spark-plug ignition of a gas engine and sparkless compression ignition of a diesel to combine provide both good acceleration and good gas mileage.
One of the coolest things they've got going is HORST, that can run a GranTurismo operation on your car and alter its handling from a trackday special to a budget econobox with a few inputs on a laptop. It will never see the light of day (at least not from VW), but it's a sign of what can be done.
Click the "Read" link to check out the rest of what VW's mad hatters are working on. Inventions like the Human Machine Interface Golf, that sends vibrations through the steering wheel to warn you of things you might not have seen, and that can reconfigure the instrument panel based on what it thinks is most important, is a little too I, Robot for us, but this is what R&D is made for. As soon as they start talking about a self-aware Jetta, however, it could be time to head for the hills....
[Source: Channel 4.com]