Palo Alto, California – Volkswagen Group of America and Stanford University’s School of Engineering have unveiled the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory (VAIL), an evolution of the two organizations’ commitment to drive innovation in automotive development.

Volkswagen has donated US$5.75 million to the project, including $2 million for building construction, and another $750,000 per year for five years to fund research and teaching activities. Stanford researchers and international visiting scholars will use the facility to work with automotive equipment manufacturers and Silicon Valley experts.

Volkswagen and Stanford already enjoy a successful partnership, which included the autonomous-driving Touareg, nicknamed Stanley, which won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge for self-driven vehicles. In 2007, an autonomous-driving Passat wagon, named Junior, was a runner-up in the DARPA Urban Challenge.

“Stanford and Volkswagen are ideal partners,” said Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen, chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors. “This collaboration can draw on a long-standing relationship between the Volkswagen Group and Stanford, which continues to increase the exchange between industrial and academic talent. The Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab takes this partnership one step further, and is focused on the university’s campus. The goals are to accelerate automotive-related research on campus, increase opportunities for collaboration between the VW Group and Stanford, and build a global community of academic and industrial partners committed to the future of automotive research. The focus will be on vehicle safety, mobility and environmental performance.”

The new building is scheduled to open early in 2010.


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