Mk 8 VW Golf engineers struggling through software issues

Security for over-the-air updates proves challenging

2020 VW Golf
2020 VW Golf / Image Credit: KGP Photography
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The on-sale date for the Mk 8 Volkswagen Golf remains on target for the week of Feb. 24, 2020. The launch plans leading up to that date have had to change some. Brand head Jürgen Stackmann told Automotive News that software issues have dogged development engineers. The delays in implementation mean that instead of launching Europe's most popular car at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, Volkswagen will get behind the ID. hatchback at Frankfurt and debut the Golf at a later date in 2019.

Stackmann told AN, "We've never hid the fact that software, an area of extreme importance for products in the future, is a serious challenge for us." The most time consuming programming challenges center on over-the-air updates and other digital features, as well as the compliance issues around them.

"Already now there are ten times more lines of code in the latest Golf than in a smartphone, but it is not just the complexity in the vehicle that causes problems," Stackmann said. The security of the open system needs to stand up to OEM standards, making the Golf impervious to hackers and accidental interference. Beyond that, VW needs to ensure any glitches in the code don't adversely affect the Golf's operation, or worse, brick the car.

VW's also concerned about what features added after sale mean for regulatory homologation. "You're adding content to a vehicle afterwards, and this is an area where we are working together with the type approval agencies to define these processes. It is new for them as well."

With code writers "under heavy pressure" to compile and proof the digital ecosystem, production plans have been scaled back. Instead of the 80,000 units planned to come off the Wolfsburg factory line this year, Der Spiegel said just 10,000 units are in the pipeline. That represents five days of current Mk 7 Golf production.

Assuming all goes to plan, the new Golf begins sales in Germany, followed by other European markets.

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