Europe: Volkswagen to offer a car “black box” image

Volkswagen AG, the world’s second largest automaker and the biggest in Europe has unveiled plans to commercialize a commercial plane-like black box in Austria designed to record trips and track the car’s location.

According to Porsche Holding GmbH, Volkswagen’s Salzburg, Austria-based retail division, the DiBox can offer the user data on the car via a smartphone application and can be fitted to any new or old VW and Audi vehicle. The device has been developed to integrate with the vehicle’s electronics system and the motorists will pay an upfront fee of 299 euros ($350) and use it with an annual subscription worth 49 euros. Volkswagen and other automakers, such as luxury maker BMW are keen on developing and marketing wireless links for their cars that can add numerous features – from warning other cars of traffic jams to ultimately pave the way towards the future, autonomous models.

Alain Favey, the chief of Porsche Holding said that by allowing older cars to use the DiBox the company has essentially “democratized the connected car” and together with Telekom Austria AG, supplier of some of the technology, they carmakers wants to expand the device to other markets and the rest of the Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker’s brands. European regulators are decisively in favor of such devices, with the European Union planning to have all cars mandatory equipped with a system that can call in autonomously the emergency services if a serious accident is detected.

Via Bloomberg