Volkswagen is no stranger to working with Stanford University, having collaborated with the Palo Alto school on the DARPA Grand Challenge competitions for autonomous vehicles. Volkswagen also already has a technology research facility in Palo Alto. The university and automaker are now opening a new Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab on campus as part of the school of engineering and calling it the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford, or CARS.

Stanford professor and engineering dean James Plummer and VW Group research directors Dr.-Ing. Franz-Josef Paefgen and Prof. Dr. Jürgen Leohold are inaugurating the new lab this weekend. The lab will do basic research on technologies that enhance safety, environmental friendliness and personal mobility.

The center will include labs and a workshop area for building prototypes as well as a test track. VW has already committed $2 million to the new facility and $2.25 million over the next three years for CARS at Stanford.

[Source: Volkswagen]


press release

Volkswagen Group and Stanford University are expanding their cooperation

The Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab will be inaugurated

Wolfsburg / Stanford, 23 October 2009 - Volkswagen Group research directors, Dr.-Ing. Franz-Josef Paefgen and Prof. Dr. Jürgen Leohold, together with Stanford's Prof. James Plummer, Dean of the School of Engineering, will inaugurate the new Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab on the Stanford University campus at a dedication ceremony this coming Saturday.

The successes of Stanley and Junior – autonomous vehicles that won the DARPA Grand Challenge and Urban Challenge races – demonstrate that cooperation between science and industry can drive the development of significant new technologies. With VAIL, the traditionally close cooperation between Volkswagen Group and Stanford University will take on a new aspect with the common purpose to focus even more intensively on innovative technologies to improve mobility, vehicle safety and environmental protection. In the run-up to this event, Volkswagen's Head of Group Research, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Leohold, explained that, "Stanford University and Volkswagen are ideal partners. VAIL is an important step in further developing this international collaboration. Both Science and industry should benefit equally from the new VAIL lab in paving the way toward new technologies."

The centre, which is still under construction, will provide about 750 square meters of space for research teams from the fields of mechanical engineering, electronics and information technology, as well as a fully equipped workshop area. VAIL will also include a vehicle proving ground. In addition to its contribution of two million dollars towards the construction project, Volkswagen will also fund Stanford's CarLab to the tune of $750,000 per year over the next five years. This interdisciplinary research centre, which is also new, should attract top-notch, young international scientists and provide them with opportunities for independent research.

Note: Photographs of the event will be available at www.media.vw.com beginning at 8:00 pm on Sunday.