Safety steering column 

The safety steering column includes features which can be collapsed like a telescope in a collision, preventing the steering from penetrating the interior. Telescopic rods and additional joints ensure significant decoupling of steering wheel movement from the end wall deformation in a crash. This reduces the risk of injury to the driver. In crashes which do not exceed a specific level of severity, the steering wheel and airbag have a fixed position in front of the driver. An in-built shifting mechanism with a damping function reduces the impact on the chest and head insofar as is technically possible.

See also:
Restraint system

Image of the safety steering column in a VW Scirocco

SCR catalytic converter  

The SCR (selective catalytic reduction) catalytic converter converts the exhaust gas component nitrogen oxide (NOx) selectively into nitrogen (N2) and water (H2O) without the formation of undesired side products. The conversion is performed using a synthetically produced, diluted reducing agent, such as AdBlue® (ISO 22241-1 / AUS 32), which is added to an additional tank.
Depending on the vehicle, the customer may also have to top up AdBlue® themselves, or have it topped up by their authorised workshop, between services. The dosage is based on the exhaust gas flow rate; engine management in conjunction with an NOx sensor behind the SCR catalytic converter ensure a precise dosage.

See also:
AdBlue®
NOx storage catalytic converter

Image of a Volkswagen SCR catalytic converter

Seat belt 

The main system for protecting vehicle occupants is the three-point automatic seat belt.
Its task is to keep occupants in their seats in the event of an accident, so that they are slowed down as much as the vehicle where possible and not exposed to excessive, uncontrolled forces.
The automatic roll device makes it easy to put on and offers maximum wearing comfort for a wide range of heights and seating positions. Belt tensioners compensate for slack by tightening the seatbelt on impact, ensuring it fits closely to the body. The belt force limiter reduces the maximum belt force, reducing the risk of injury to occupants’ upper bodies. Its effect is boosted in particular in combination with belt tensioners and airbags for front seat occupants.

See also:
Airbag
Belt force limiter
Belt tensioner
Restraint system

Image of the seat belt in a VW Golf

Semi-trailing arm axle 

Balanced comfort and driving characteristics are the hallmark of the semi-trailing arm axle. In the semi-trailing arm rear axle, the wheels are carried on links which move at an angle to the vehicle’s longitudinal axis during compression and rebounding. The compact design allows for a large luggage compartment.

See also:
MacPherson axle
MacPherson suspension strut
Double wishbone axle
Multi-link rear axle
Trapezium link rear axle
Torsion beam rear axle
Four-link front axle

Image of a Volkswagen semi-trailing arm axle

‘Side Assist’ lane change system 

The ‘Side Assist’ lane change system helps the driver change lanes. Two radar systems in the rear record areas up to approximately 50 metres behind the vehicle and in the blind spot beside the vehicle.
Irrespective of whether the vehicle is changing lanes, ‘Side Assist’ shows all vehicles which are in an area critical to lane changes. The system indicates the potential hazard with a constant light in the relevant rear view mirror. If the driver operates the turn signal switch nevertheless, the LED light will start flashing more brightly and draw attention to the hazard.
Instead of distracting the driver with unnecessary warnings, the difference in speeds is taken into account at all times. ‘Side Assist’ only indicates vehicles which might actually cause a hazard when changing lanes.
The lane change system operates from a speed of 30 km/h and is activated the touch of a button. ‘Side Assist’ is the ideal technical addition to the vehicle (exterior mirror) and and driver (look over the shoulder) to prevent hazard situations when changing lanes and make the driver’s life easier.

See also:
Driver assist systems

Two Volkswagens driving on a street by night from above. The ‘Side Assist’ sensor system is depicted using lines

Side impact protection 

Due to the lack of space for deformation on the vehicle side and the immediate proximity of vehicle occupants to the other party to the accident, it is hard to compare the circumstances of a side-on crash with a front crash. Unless in the front or rear section, the vehicle body offers few options here for absorbing energy through material deformation. In the event of a crash, to ensure the most targeted deformation of the passenger compartment possible, this area must have a particularly stable design and the restraint systems used must be developed to come into play in a few milliseconds
At Volkswagen, various protective mechanisms are used on the vehicle flank to sustainably reduce the risk of injury:

  • Side impact bars increase the rigidity of the doors and distribute the forces occurring in a side-on crash.
  • Significant door overlap with the pillars increases the resistance to crumpling. This allows the forces occurring in a crash to be diverted to the underbody and roof trusses more effectively.
  • Stable A, B and C pillars ensure a crumple-resistant passenger compartment.
  • Solid transverse bracing in the underbody ensures the necessary residual space.
  • Optimally arranged side airbags and curtain airbags act as the restraint system in the event of side impact.

See also:
Passenger compartment
Restraint system

Schematic diagram of side impact protection in a Volkswagen

Side-wind compensation 

The side-wind compensation gives Volkswagen’s electromechanical power steering added comfort and safety. This comfort feature helps the driver in constant side winds or on a driving surface with an incline on one side. If the EPS control unit records constant counter-steering by the driver, the power steering adjusts to this automatically and compensates for it. The fact that the driver no longer needs to actively counter-steer makes their life easier and greatly improves comfort.

See also:
Electromechanical power steering

A VW Polo driving over a bridge

Sliding/tilting sunroof 

The glass-covered photovoltaic elements in the solar roof produce electricity even with low levels of sunlight and supply the blower in the vehicle. This means the interior can be supplied with fresh air despite the ignition being switched off and the temperature level in the vehicle can be reduced by up to 50 per cent. The vehicle battery is not used up. This advance cooling allows the air conditioner to reduce the interior temperature to the preferred level with low use of energy and the blower.

The roof a Volkswagen with solar sliding/tilting sunroof viewed from above

Sockets 

Mobile devices can be connected using 12-volt sockets in the centre console, rear or luggage compartment. A 230-volt socket is also available for many models.

Image of a socket in a VW Touareg

Speed-based power steering  

Speed-based power steering control makes the car more comfortable to drive and easier to handle, helping to ensure safety. At low speeds ⎼ for instance, when manoeuvring ⎼ assistance from the power steering is at its greatest. This makes the vehicle very easy to handle. At higher speeds, assistance from the power steering, with the help of the electronics, is increasingly withdrawn. This means the driver of the vehicle can steer more precisely and effectively at high speeds than with normal power steering.

See also:
Power steering

Image of speed-based power steering in a VW Scirocco

Sports seats 

Volkswagen sports seats increase safety and offer impressively high seating comfort as well as looking great. The distinctive side bolsters ensure good support when taking corners and give better control of the vehicle in extreme driving situations.

1. Fuel consumption Golf GTI, l/100 km: urban 8.2-7.8 / extra-urban 5.5-5.3 / combined 6.4-6.3; CO₂ emissions combined, g/km: 148-145; efficiency class: D

VW Golf interior equipment with sports seats

Stabiliser 

The stabiliser consists of a mostly U-shaped round bar with a diameter of 10 to 60 millimetres. The middle section of the ‘U’ is fastened in rubber mountings rotatably across the vehicle body. The angled ends are connected to the wheel suspension. This means that lever forces which occur on one side have a balancing effect on the other side.
Stabilisers help drivers stay in their lanes, improving vehicle handling. At the same time, they reduce the body’s tendency to lean and reduce rolling from side to side. Improved directional stability makes taking corners even safer and more comfortable.

Start/stop system 

The start/stop system switches off the engine automatically when the vehicle is at a standstill. The engine only runs when it is really required. The driver hits a red light and waits until the vehicle comes to a standstill. They then switch to idle (as usual) and take their foot of the clutch. This turns off the engine for a moment. The ‘Start/stop’ indicator appears in the multifunction display. When the light turns amber again, the driver presses the clutch and the engine starts. The ‘Start/stop’ indicator turns off.

See also:
Multifunction display (MFD)

Image of the start/stop system in a Volkswagen

Sustainability 

Sustainability comprises all measures taken to safeguard and preserve the natural basis of our existence. Preventive environmental protection prevents negative influencing factors, such as noise and emissions, from occurring in the first place, through forward planning or new technologies (water-soluble paints, advanced engine management, fuel-saving driving style).

Retrospective environmental protection avoids a negative impact from existing potential factors (such as wast water treatment, catalytic converter, silencing). In automotive design, environmental protection starts with the planning and design of new vehicles and production plans and extends its reach all the way through to reuse and recycling of materials used or built into constructions. The driver can also make a contribution during use with economical, conscientious usage.

A straight road in an avenue of trees

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