The next step in autonomous cars? Helping avoid motion sickness

Carsickness can happen to anyone: the confusion between the motion your eyes see, and the motion your body feels, can lead to a queasiness in your stomach or something worse. About a third of all people are susceptible to it—women more than men, children more than adults—but under the right conditions, anyone can suffer from it. And many of those conditions could become more common once autonomous vehicles hit the road. At the Volkswagen Group research labs in Wolfsburg, scientists are studying what can trigger car sickness and potential ways to help prevent it from happening in a future where the car can mostly drive itself. “To put it simply, the forces acting on us in the car confuse our sense of perception,” says Adrian Brietzke of Volkswagen Group Research. This happens most often to passengers he says—the “driver’s privilege” of knowing what’s about to happen next allows them to adapt to the car’s motion. But what could happen with autonomous vehicles? At the test track in Ehra-Lessien, a female volunteer takes the passenger seat of an Audi A4 sedan wearing various sensors and cameras designed to measure her pulse, skin temperature, and even changes in skin tone. For a 20-minute drive, the sedan will use Automatic Cruise Control to follow a semi-autonomous Passat that travels in a stop-start motion. During the test, a tablet properly secured to the dashboard plays a video for the volunteer to watch. The visuals are swimming fish rather than a major blockbuster, to help avoid triggering any emotions such as tension or happiness that could skew the data. As the car drives, the volunteer rates her state of health on a tablet—and it doesn’t take long for a change. “I didn’t think I was that sensitive, but I felt queasy after just a few minutes,” says the volunteer. In other tests, the Volkswagen Group researchers are exploring whether changes to the vehicles themselves might help prevent motion sickness. Such ideas include special movable seats that can react to driving changes and an LED light strip on the door panel that illuminates in green and red – providing a visual cue for the passenger of braking or acceleration. Studies have shown that these inventions have already had some initial success. But the team still has some way to go, and further studies are in the pipeline. Their plans include examining not only the longitudinal forces that passengers feel when braking and accelerating, but also the transverse forces when taking corners. With the first truly autonomous vehicles possibly arriving within the next decade, finding a way to help control our propensity for motion sickness will be more important than ever.

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Volkswagen Remixes: Seven custom vehicle builds for 2019

Just as the summer starts with a dance remix hit or two, Volkswagen annually takes some of its most popular models and builds special remixed versions to inspire enthusiasts across this country. The 2019 edition of the Volkswagen enthusiast fleet ranges from off-road1 haulers to ‘90s-themed throwbacks—all built with the sense of fun that’s an essential part of Volkswagen. of Created at the Volkswagen Technical Service Center in Auburn Hills, Mich., this Golf Alltrack Combi brings a global look to the Golf Alltrack wagon. Starting with a 2019 Golf Alltrack SEL, the Combi includes the front bumper from the European Golf GTE, a Golf GTD short shifter, and rear spoiler from the Golf GTI Rabbit Edition. The look is completed with a set of H&R® VTF adjustable lowering springs, custom 90’s-themed graphics, tinted windows, Volkswagen Accessories base carrier bars with an integrated LED light bar, and a Thule® Motion XT L cargo box. of A homage to the iconic Rabbit logo, this 2019 GTI Rabbit Edition is covered in a wrap decorated with Rabbit logos, plus a few hidden surprises, arranged in a confetti-like pattern. This concept is fitted with 19-inch Rotiform RSE wheels, complete with customized Rotiform Aerodisk wheel covers; H&R® VTF adjustable lowering springs; tinted windows, and Volkswagen Accessories base carrier bars with a Thule® Canyon XT Cargo Basket. of The white-water kayak on the roof advertises the real goal of the Tiguan Adventure Concept. Starting with a 2019 Tiguan SEL Premium 4Motion, this overland concept built in collaboration with H&R® Springs features a topographic-themed wrap, H&R® Adventure Raising Springs, and 18-inch Rotiform WGR wheels fitted with all-terrain tires. The car also features a plethora of adventure-ready Volkswagen Accessories: MuddyBuddy® protection mats, Bumperdillo® protection plate, rear spoiler, aluminum side steps, base carrier bars, and a Thule® Hull-a-Port kayak carrier. of Volkswagen has collaborated with Fifteen52 in the creation of the Super Touring Concept, using a 2019 Jetta GLI Autobahn for the reveal of brand-new Fifteen52 wheels.  Additional equipment includes K&W Variant 3 DDC coil overs, sport spoiler, brake kit, extended exhaust, and tinted windows. of The SEMA Concept builds on a collaboration started in 2018 with Vossen Wheels for the SEMA show. With a 2019 Arteon SEL R-Line as a base, the SEMA Concept features Xpel satin finish paint protector for the Pure White exterior, islowered nearly three inches by H&R® Ultra Low coil overs, and rides on a set of 21-inch Vossen Forged M-X4T wheels. For 2019, the concept was updated with a 380mm front big brake kit by Forge Motorsport, as well as a custom valence kit and aluminum floor mats by Luft Technik. of Many of the 40 colors available in the Golf R Spektrum program this year were bits of visual history from previous Volkswagen models. The Spektrum Concept plays up that history further, building off a 2019 Golf R w/ DCC & Navigation, dressed in Spektrum color Ginster Yellow, a 90s-era color option on GTI. The concept adds H&R® VTF adjustable lowering springs, 20-inch Vossen Hybrid Forged HF-1 wheels, tinted windows, and [black OR yellow] lower rocker panel accents. of The Basecamp Concept unveiled at the New York International Auto Show was the brainchild of Alex Earle, Exterior Design Manager at the Volkswagen Design Center California and avid off-road cyclist. Built from a Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium, the Basecamp Concept comes painted Platinum Gray and Black Uni with a matte finish and orange accents. Wearing 265/70R17 all-terrain tires on fifteen52 Traverse MX Concept wheels, the Basecamp also includes a custom body kit by Air Design, an H&R® lift kit with coil over springs that raise the ride height approximately 1.5 inches, a Front Runner® Slimline II roof rack system with bike holders and off-road LED light bars on the front and rear. You’ll be able to see the Volkswagen Enthusiast Fleet at the following events in 2019: SOWO: The European Experience | Savannah, GA | May 18-19• ARX Round #2-3 | Madison, IL | July 13-14 Waterfest | Atco, NJ | July 21-22 Wolfsgart | Essex Junction, VT | Aug. 4-5 VAG Fair | York, PA | Aug. 4-5 SoCal Big Euro | San Diego, CA | Sept. 1 Pacific Waterland | Woodburn, OR | Sept. 9 ARX Round #5 | Austin, TX | Sep. 28

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How To Speak Smartly About Beautiful Cars, Like The Volkswagen Arteon

Even as it hits the United States, the Volkswagen Arteon already has won awards for its unique style. A blend of four-door sedan, hatchback and sport-car cues, the Arteon looks like no other vehicle on the road, and its role as the flagship of Volkswagen in America suggests where the brand’s future designs will evolve. There may be no more challenging job in the automotive world than designing a vehicle. It’s not just taking a blueprint of a chassis from engineers and making it look pretty. It requires blending art, customer tastes and societal cues – and anticipating how the final result will resonate years into the future. Bold yet timeless design has been one of Volkswagen’s strengths for decades and, as the Arteon shows, will remain one for years to come. Yet even car experts struggle sometimes to say what exactly it is that makes one car attractive and another … not so much. Here’s a short glossary of automotive design terms that can help you pinpoint what’s turns your head on the road: A-Line: If you traced a vehicle’s silhouette from front to rear, you’d have the A-line, or main profile. This line often defines the entire character of a car, and a few millimeters here and there can mean the difference between sleek or dull. Beltline: The horizontal line that divides the sheetmetal from the glass in a vehicle. Just as a higher or lower beltline on a human body drastically alters a person’s look, the height of a vehicle’s beltline can make it look sporty and menacing or welcoming and airy. In the Arteon, the beltline is balanced for a classical feel. 20-inch wheels shown limited and later availability. Character Line: The creases running horizontally along the side of the vehicle that give it a visual definition. “We have a line,” says Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen Head of Design, “that runs through the entire car and brings the volume of the Arteon even closer to the ground. This line starts in the radiator grille at the front and runs cleanly over the side profile and into the tail lights.” At the rear, it develops into a sharp undercut, which visually reduces the height of the Arteon and carries the strong shoulder section upwards. Color shown limited availability C-Pillar: Car designers have a lettering system for the pillars that contain the passenger compartment when viewed from the side; the A-pillar frames the front, the B-pillar is where the door edges meet, and the C-pillar frames the rear side windows. Over time the C-pillars and the angle formed where the sheetmetal and glass meet have become brand touchstones for several automakers and key models — few more so than the Volkswagen Golf. In the Arteon, the C-pillar follows the long arch of the rear hatch, ending in a discreet angle with a premium touch of glass and chrome. Down the Road Graphics: If you’ve ever tried to identify a car at night simply from the shape of its headlights, you’ve memorized what designers call “down the road graphics.” With the arrival of LED daytime running lights, there are more ways than ever to distinguish vehicles through light. The Arteon makes the most of this with its dramatic light signature of the daytime running light that angles into the grille, framing the LED headlights. Fastback: The car body term dates back to before World War II, when automakers first began optimizing aerodynamics. Long roofs that slope down to a car’s trunk provide several aerodynamic benefits, and eventually such profiles were called fastbacks. The fastback shape of the Arteon gives it a dynamic and elegant look among midsize sedans. Flitzer: The German term for the side badge on Volkswagens where the front door line meets the fender. Color shown limited availability Greenhouse / Day Light Opening (DLO): The shape and total area of the glass around a passenger compartment in a vehicle. Owners generally favor open, airy greenhouses, but too much glass can make for awkward exterior design. Sports cars often have the smallest DLOs that emphasize performance at the expense of visibility. The best designs offer a balance between extremes, while panoramic sunroofs such as the one in the Arteon, add a further dimension. 20-inch wheels shown limited and later availability. Joint Line: Any place on a vehicle where two body panels meet. Joint lines are rarely the centerpiece of a vehicle’s design, but they can add or detract greatly from the overall impression. The joint line where the hood of the Arteon meets the front wheelarch shows how graceful such seams can be. Overhang: As seen from the side, the part of the car that extends ahead and behind of the wheelarches. Classic American cars commonly had a foot or two of sheetmetal and frame sticking out in front and back. In the modern era, smaller overhangs have become the more preferred style (and provide more assured handling, as more of the vehicle’s weight lies within the wheelbase.) Power Dome: A term for a hood bulge that gives the impression of power underneath. Once quite common, the industry has been moving toward flatter hoods (or even slightly hoods for electric vehicles.) In the Arteon, there’s only a hint of a power dome; instead, the “clamshell” hood creates its unusual look by stretching the entire width of the car, folding down at the edges to the wheelarch. Rake: The angle of the windshield as seen from the side of the car. The Volkswagen Beetle was a good example of a vehicle with almost no windshield rake. Modern vehicles have more rake for lower wind noise and better aerodynamics, although glare can be an issue at too great an angle. Shoulder: The side curve of a vehicle body, typically above the wheels. Many vehicles lack shoulders entirely, as the roof and sides meet in one continuous line. On the Arteon, its shoulders create one of its most distinctive features around the rear fender and hatch. Track: The width between the wheels. Narrower cars have better aerodynamics, but wider vehicles look more premium. Much of the design of the Arteon emphasizes its width, from the flowing horizontal brightwork in the grille to the taillights and seamless, one-piece hatch. Tumblehome: A nautical term that describes the inward angle of the greenhouse. Pickups, vans and many SUVs have zero to little tumblehome to optimize interior space (and because looking “blocky” can be a virtue.) Just the right amount of tumblehome can be the difference between an attractive design and a competent, but boring, one. Wedge: The horizontal angle at which a car sits when viewed from the side. Minivans have zero wedge; drag racers have extreme wedge. The Arteon adds to its overall sport-inspired design with a slight wedge body that rises along its entire length. Wheelarch Gap: The space between the wheel and the body. It’s a particular obsession for many auto fans, with a whole enthusiast community devoted to “slammed” cars that have no gap at all. Trucks and off-road SUVs require more gap, but even in those types of vehicles designers work to ensure the body still provides an aesthetically pleasing space. With the R-Line’s optional 20-inch wheels1, the stance of the Arteon carries only a modest gap.  

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One of the first Golf R Spektrums heads north to a true Volkswagen enthusiast

Imagine designing your favorite car in your dream color. Thanks to the new Volkswagen Spektrum Program1, Jennifer Jensen was able to turn her vision – a 2019 Volkswagen Golf R in Violet Touch Pearl – into a reality. Jensen was one of the first customers in the United States to receive the 288-hp, all-wheel-drive Volkswagen Golf R in one of the 40 custom-order Spektrum colors. The Auto Exotica magazine publisher and TV host resides in Oshkosh, Wis., and her collection of high performance and sports vehicles has included multiple Vipers, Porsches, BMW M-series cars, and even a 2006 Ford GT. But when it comes to daily driving, Jensen says there is no better car on the market than the Golf R. She praised the hatchback’s practicality and power. “The Mk6 has taught me more about performance cars than any other car I’ve owned,” says Jensen. “You can fit four six-footers in there and nine bags of groceries in the hatch.” She’s also a fan of the car’s reliability. “I’m definitely a huge proponent of all-wheel drive,” says Jensen. “When you live in a climate like Wisconsin, where we get snow, we slap some snow tires on the car.” 2 The 2019 Volkswagen Golf R in Violet Touch Pearl. To mark the occasion, the Volkswagen Golf R product team coordinated delivery of the hot hatchback at Jensen’s local dealership, Bergstrom Volkswagen in Appleton, Wis. “I was thrilled when I saw the press release for the Spektrum program,” says Jensen. “The day [it] came out, I forwarded it to Sean, our sales guy, and said, ‘Alright, I think we need another Golf R.’” She sat down with her entire family, reviewed the color options and ultimately landed on Violet Touch Pearl. “It is just so freaking pretty. It’s not a really bright purple, but it’s got depth,” says Jensen. “It pops more than I thought it would. … I’m thrilled with that color. I absolutely love it.” Other top contenders were Viper Green Metallic – a neon green originally used on the European Mk3 Scirocco – and the bold TNT Orange. The brand-new wheels bring the Jensen family’s Volkswagen car collection to five. They already own a 2017 Beetle and three other Golfs (a Mk6 R, Mk7 Wolfsburg edition and a 1992 triple white Cabriolet). She recently gave her first Volkswagen purchase – a 2013 Golf R in Rising Blue – to her son as a surprise birthday present. His celebration even featured a bright blue Golf R-themed cake. “We’re definitely a VW family,” Jensen says. Jennifer Jensen taking delivery of her 2019 Volkswagen Golf R.

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Photograph Your VW Like a Pro

There’s nothing better than posting a VW photo that garners all the love. And when that photo looks so good that you look like a real pro? Even better. What does it take to make snaps of your beloved #VW shine? Chicago-based Jeremy Cliff (@jeremycliff), a professional who specializes in auto photography, shares his top tips and insights. Practice patience Some photographers describe their job as “chasing nature.” It’s true: The sun (or shade) doesn’t shine on your schedule. Be patient, and, well . . . wait for it. Try your photo in both sunny and overcast conditions — cloudy skies lend a softer, more forgiving light, while bright sun creates cool reflections (but also harsh shadows). Find your frame The rule of thirds is a fundamental technique used in art and photography for composition and balance. Here’s how it works: Divide the image into a grid of nine squares — three horizontal sections intersecting three vertical sections. Centering your subject is one option. Or, build drama and interest by placing your subject off to one side and slightly above or a little below center. Get low The most impactful images are often not taken at standing height. Squat down to put your camera eye-to-eye (or lens-to-headlight) with the subject. Not only does this angle make your car look more prominent and powerful, it hides a lot of background noise (such as wires and poles). In addition, try stepping to the right or left to reframe the image and hide distractions such as signage or other cars. Horizontal — it’s a thing Although vertical is the default format of most mobile device images and video, don’t ignore horizontal shots. They’re great to capture an energetic scene — and you can still use other techniques, such as the rule of thirds, to make your shot stand out. Play with shadow The interplay of sun and shadow is a great way to highlight lines and small details, which wouldn’t be as accessible in a more brightly lit image. The magic hour Use nature’s twice-daily symphony of color — known to the rest of us as sunrise and sunset — to your advantage. Near or far Experiment with the depth of field. Keep the car in focus but let other things in the foreground or the background fall softly out of focus. It’s a great way to boost visual interest. Stay off the grass Pulling onto the green makes your car look squatty, even if the grass is short. Instead, keep your wheels on the pavement and use the grass as a backdrop rather than a surface. Headlights give life Turn them on when you’re shooting: It’s a trick photographers use to mimic what it’s like to see a sparkle in someone’s eye. The pro pose Keep your wheels straight (not turned) and the windows rolled up. Check the mirrors Be aware of what is being reflected in the paint, chrome, glass, and mirror. Can you see yourself, the color of your shirt, or other cars? What about shadows? Is your own silhouette in the way? If so, move yourself and the camera, try a new angle, or wait for the right light. Use the tools Social media filters and your mobile device’s basic photo editing software let you play around with color saturation and temperature, depth of field, and more. Don’t be afraid to experiment and learn what each tweak (and command) can accomplish. It’s all about the hashtag Use and follow #VW, #VWLove, and others to see and be seen on social media.

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9 Things You Didn’t Know About the All-New Arteon

The camera flashes popped and the crowd “oohed” and “aahed” when Volkswagen unveiled the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon at the Chicago Auto Show. Two fastback sedans, in metallic red and yellow, rotated on the stage, and although the iconic VW logo adorned both trunks and hoods, the cars were unlike any Volkswagen vehicles attendees had ever seen. That was by design. With the Arteon, Volkswagen set out to establish a new design direction for the future, providing a glimpse of the next generation of Volkswagen vehicles. Here’s your crash course on the new Volkswagen flagship sedan. The Arteon name is taken from the Latin word for art (artem) and alludes to the emphasis VW placed on its design. The VW team set out to “open a new chapter” in the evolution of four-door coupes with features such as chrome strips on the frameless side windows and a wraparound grille. The nearly 112-inch wheelbase helps provide drivers and passengers with far more space than most fastback-style vehicles. While most fastback cars can feel cramped in the backseat, especially for taller passengers, the Arteon has space for rear-seat passengers to lean back, cross their legs, and relax.     Three-and-a-half years passed between initial discussions about the Arteon and final production. It is scheduled to arrive in America this spring.     In creating the low, coupe-like silhouette of the Arteon, the Volkswagen design team drew inspiration from nature. In particular, designers looked to imitate the streamlined and athletic profile of predators, including sharks. Volkswagen introduced a unique lighting architecture with the Arteon: The grille and headlights weave together into a seamless unit, a feature that wowed the engineering team when designers first presented it.     The 27-cubic-foot trunk provides cargo space that exceeds that of most sedans, making the Arteon practical in a way that many similar types of vehicles are not. For example, folding down the rear seat provides a total of 55 cubic feet of cargo space.   The standard DCC adaptive chassis control feature of the Arteon allows drivers to configure the vehicle’s running gear for “normal,” “comfort,” or “sport” driving. The comfort mode helps even out bumpy rides, while the sport mode helps stiffen damping to create a more direct connection between the driver and the road. The Arteon offers a host of Driver Assistance features, including standard Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, standard Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, and standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking. Available features include Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, Light Assist, Park Assist, and Park Distance Control.1     Ready for the all-new four-door coupe? Now you can make it your own with the R-Line® package. It’s new from VW and gives you a sportier interior and some enviable, dynamic exterior treatments. It will be available when the Arteon goes on sale this spring.         Sign up here for the latest updates on the all-new 2019 Arteon.

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