Volkswagen Group’ Software Company CARIAD Sets Up Chinese Subsidiary

CARIAD, an automotive software company that is part of Volkswagen Group, announced on Thursday the establishment of a subsidiary in China, also publishing an official strategy for the country. The Chinese team has more than 600 employees, and will conduct research on localized software.

Chang Qing, CEO of CARIAD China, said that the firm has been newly established under Volkswagen Group. It has integrated 15 software companies, and now has more than 5,000 employees from more than 70 countries.

He noted that China is leading the digital transformation of mobile travel, where hardware and software are constantly iterating and upgrading, and consumers have ever newer needs. Now China is one of the most dynamic and promising mobile travel markets in the world. For this reason, the Volkswagen Group decided to establish the CARIAD China team. It is also the first branch of CARIAD apart from its European headquarters.

CARIAD’s subsidiary in China is positioned as the software technology innovation center of the Volkswagen Group in China, and it has three key priorities for software development.

First, it leads OTA upgrades of the MEB platform model series, with the first update expected in the second half of 2022.

Second, it is expected that a high-end software platform will be launched in the next two years. This platform is to be made available for models based on the PPE platform and will feature an infotainment system based on Android, as well as an advanced driver assistance system. These two systems support OTA in Audi and Porsche models. The CARIAD China team is leading the development of applications for these two systems that are sensitive to local market conditions.

Third, it plans to launch a unified software platform for all VW Group brands in around 2025. This platform will be available for all VW Group brands. At launch, this platform will be pre-equipped with L4 autonomous driving technology.

Regarding talent recruitment, the CARIAD China team has already garnered more than 600 employees and plans to double that number by the end of 2023, with more than 90% of staff focused on local software.

In addition, the subsidiary plans to establish a national R&D network. The first steps will be to set up R&D efforts in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Hefei.

In order to accelerate R&D, CARIAD’s China subsidiary has established a software development process, methodology and tool chain, also known as PMT (Process, Methodology, Tools), which enables consistency, transparency and product compliance in delivery.

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At a press conference, CARIAD presented one of its resulting innovations – the “Rainbow” project. This initiative aims to adjust the digital experience of the vehicle to match the outfits of passengers, such as by changing the desktop theme, the color of the ambient light, as well as the greetings and music.