VW America launching tech accelerator
Corporate sponsored accelerators are becoming a trend. Today, Volkswagen Group of America Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) and Sunnyvale-based Plug and Play Tech Center announced the launch of the" Volkswagen ERL Technology Accelerator Powered by Plug and Play". Good idea, but we think they seriously need a shorter name. They plan to accelerate 10 startups from various fields (including outside of automotive) to help develop next-generation car technologies.
They're open for applications in these general areas: social media/recommendation engines, vehicle related mobile device integration, parking apps, detection apps, display/data integration, voice/sound recognition, and visual computing. Applications close December 1.
The startups they select get all the benefits of the normal Plug and Play program plus they get direct access to VW Electronics Research Labs engineers, lab facilities, test vehicles and so on. This could be a huge perk for a startup trying to break into the automotive field. Don't forget that the VW Group is not just Volkswagen; it's also Audi, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini.
Some of the specific topics of interest they mentioned include:
- Speech Recognition
- Seamless connectivity solutions
- Infotainment applications (Navigation, Media, etc.)
- Driver Assistance/Drive distraction management
- Sensor technologies
- Data Mining and analytics
- Social media/Recommendation Engines
- Augmented Reality / digital reality
- Mobile device integration
- Mobility/Parking applications/detection
- Location based services
- Discovery - where to go? What to do? Etc.
- Advanced visualization
- Virtual intelligence and personalization
VW's Electronics Research Lab, based in Belmont CA, is the company's largest research facility outside of Germany employing approximately 100 engineers, social scientists, researchers, and product designers
“Innovation is an integral part of Volkswagen Group’s long term product strategy and we take every opportunity to engage the brightest minds in technology to help define the future direction of automobiles,” said Peter Oel, Executive Director, Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Laboratory. “Our partnership with Plug and Play Tech Center provides an extraordinary platform for the most talented entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and around the country to bring forth innovation that will help us develop the most intelligent, connected vehicles of the future.”