Volkswagen details its research and development highlights

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The future has played a decisive role at Volkswagen for over 60 years. In that time, the company has birthed numerous groundbreaking concepts for the mobility of tomorrow. For VW, research and development never stands still

Over the decades, the company has been the birthplace of many groundbreaking concepts for the mobility of tomorrow, embodied by fascinating prototypes and design studies.

‘The car of tomorrow – a reality today’ was the slogan of the Integrated Research Volkswagen (IRVW) Futura. The high-tech, concept vehicle was the star of the International Motor Show (IAA) in 1989. But it wasn’t only the gull-wing doors that fascinated motor show visitors and the industry media: the Futura was a treasure trove of advanced technology on wheels.

Equipped 29 years ago with functions and features that have only recently found their way into the latest serial production models, the Futura was fitted distance sensors, parking and braking assistance functions, a navigation system, an onboard computer, and electric parking brake, and other groundbreaking features.

With the ‘Experimental Safety Volkswagen’ (ESVW I) in 1972, Volkswagen became the first European automobile manufacturer to present a research vehicle that not only exceeded all US safety requirements, but was also perfectly suitable for everyday use.

The heart and soul of the 4.73m saloon was its rigid, three-zone, safety bodyshell construction concept. Fitted with lateral collision protection; the vehicle also had a fully-automated seatbelt system with belt-tensioners and shoulder, lap and knee belts; as well as specially-designed safety seats providing additional protection for the driver and passengers – all of which was realized 46 years ago.

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Sam joined the UKi Media & Events automotive team in 2017. Having started out as assistant editor for a number of titles including Engine + Powertrain Technology International, Automotive Testing Technology International and Professional Motorsport World, he was appointed editor of E+PTI in 2020. Sam produces content for both the magazine and website.

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