Volkswagen never wants you to forget that its cars are engineered in Germany–hey, its current slogan is “Das Auto.” But cool Web tools, innovative gizmos, and digital entertainment aren’t exactly synonymous with German engineering. It’s Silicon Valley that’s the world’s headquarters for that stuff. And so it’s not that startling that much of VW’s work on new and future electronics, gadgetry, and interfaces happens at its Electronics Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, California, in close proximity to electronics engineering talent the company might want to hire and tech companies it might want to work with. The ERL is also a quick drive away from Stanford University’s Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab, where VW collaborates with university students and researchers on new technologies. (I wrote about VAIL’s self-driving Passat a few months ago.)
As part of VW’s press event for the 2011 Jetta, I took a tour of the ERL last week. Herewith, some photographic highlights.