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Volkswagen launches Car-Net in-car assistance system

Tue, 30 Jul 2013

Volkswagen has launched an in-car assistance system which will offer a number of convenience and diagnostic features. Not too dissimilar from some other systems already on the market -- such as BMW Assist, Mercedes-Benz'sMbrace, and GM's On-Star -- VW's system will offer roadside assistance, service appointment scheduling, and automatic crash notification. The latter triggers a call from the vehicle to a Car-Net customer specialist when the airbags in the car are deployed, which will then connect the occupants with a local public safety answering point, which can send emergency vehicles to the scene if needed. The system will premiere in some trims levels in the Passat, Beetle, Tiguan, Eos, and Jetta cars.

Car-Net will also feature Agent Destination Assist, which will allow a Car-Net specialist to send destinations directly to a car's navigation system when requested by the driver. Further, the system includes a feature called Last Parked Location, which will relay the car's location to the owner's phone. A similar feature called Remote Vehicle Status can notify the owner via the Car-Net mobile app of the status of the vehicle doors, light, sunroof, hood, convertible top and trunk, in case the driver forgets to close them.

Car-Net will also include roadside assistance, and the driver will be able to request it by pressing the “wrench” button on the Car-Net system. The driver will also be able to schedule service appointments via the system. All the Car-Net features will also be accessible through a mobile app and through the VW Car-Net website, in addition to the vehicle itself.

Perhaps the most surprising part of Volkswagen's new system is that it's coming out in 2013, but then again some other automakers were also notoriously shy when it came to launching a particular piece of technology. While it may seem that Volkswagen's system was created to trump competitors' in terms of features offered, Volkswagen maintains a much bigger presence in other markets, including China, where competitors' in-car assistance systems have launched relatively recently or aren't available at all.

Car-Net will be offered free for the first six months in vehicles that already come equipped with the system, and thereafter the system will cost $199 for one year, $378 for two years or month-to-month at $17.99. VW stresses that all of Car-Net's features will come standard with the subscription, so there won't be any features that will cost extra.

By Jay Ramey