German Federal Minister Visits Volkswagen Group of America’s Silicon Valley Electronic Research Lab Share Comments Visit included a tour of the facility and test drive of piloted vehicle Belmont, Calif. Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Andrea Nahles visited the Volkswagen Group of America Electronic Research Lab (ERL) in Belmont, Calif. today. Ewald Goessmann, executive director, ERL, provided Minister Nahles and Reiner Hoffmann, Chairman of the German Trade Union Confederation, with an in-depth look at the future of mobility and projects currently underway at the lab including advanced driver assistance systems and piloted driving technology as well as in-vehicle innovations such as connectivity, infotainment, and machine learning. “It was a pleasure to welcome Nahles to our state-of-the-art research lab in Silicon Valley where we are dedicated to developing technologies for the future generation of automobiles,” said Goessmann. Minister Nahles is visiting organizations in the Silicon Valley to learn more about workforce opportunities in the future as digitalization increases. In Germany she has initiated an inclusive project called “work 4.0.” A key part of the project is an open dialogue with stakeholders, including social partners, to investigate the challenges and opportunities for Germany’s labor market in the context of digitalization. The ERL is the largest advanced technology laboratory for Volkswagen Group outside of Germany, with more than 160 employees. At the ERL, experts from many technological disciplines work together to make vehicles more intelligent, connected, and efficient. “We are very proud of our employees at the Volkswagen Group of America Electronic Research Lab. They represent the best and brightest and have been integral in the development of innovative technologies, both in the cars of today and in the future,” said Mike Beamish, executive vice president of human resources, Volkswagen Group of America. The visit included a tour of the facility and a ride in “Jack” the piloted Audi A7. In January 2015, Jack traveled more than 550 miles from Silicon Valley, Calif. to Las Vegas, Nev. in a test drive to attend the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).