Software Got You Down? VW Looks to Audi for Help

Plagued by software troubles, Volkswagen has had to make big compromises as it released the Golf 8 and the ID.3. To remedy the situation, VW is looking to Ingolstadt.

“The center of gravity for software development will move from Wolfsburg to Ingolstadt,” said Herbert Diess, VW Group CEO, at a virtual conference in Germany on Tuesday.

The Volkswagen brand has also, reportedly, decided to replace the head of its software division, Christian Senger. The recent troubles it has faced with software are also reportedly behind Diess’s own ousting as head of the VW brand—though he remains head of the VW Group and there were apparently other internal politics behind that decision.

Regardless, the software issues that have forced VW to release the ID.3 late and without all of its features are causing internal strife.

Software engineering is becoming vitally important in the automotive space. The Golf 8 reportedly needs ten times as many lines of code as the Golf 7 did and Volkswagen wants to develop its own operating system to roll out to as many of its cars as possible, ultimately saving money and improving efficiency.

The problem is that an operating system is expensive to develop—much like the MEB platform was—and if something goes wrong with the OS its effects will be felt across the group.

So getting it right is important. And apparently VW has faith in Audi—which has been taking on a lot of developmental responsibilities within the group lately. In 2019 alone, the brand filed more than 1,200 patent applications and holds the equivalent of 23,000 individual patents worldwide.

More to the point, the brand’s recent MIB 3 infotainment system has been notably free of software gremlins despite Audi cabins now containing three informational screens.