There has been lots of excitement about how Volkswagen’s decision to combine the Alexa Voice Service with Car-Net functions will assist moving cars further into the 21st century since it was announced in January.

One of the main points of focus, especially due to recent changes in UK road laws, has been how this new technology can make drivers safer when they are behind the wheel. Join VW dealership Vindis as they look more into this aspect:

A look at Volkswagen Car-Net

Volkswagen Car-Net refers to the in-car internet connectivity that can be found on each VW vehicle. So, whether it is hi-tech maps to help you get from A to B, streamed music to make every journey a lot more entertaining, or even innovative means of monitoring what’s going on between back seat passengers – this is all covered within Car-Net.

These are the key aspects of the setup:

Security & Service

The Security & Service features of Volkswagen Car-Net aims to give you plenty of peace of mind when you’re driving a VW. This is because it includes the following pieces of technology:

  • Emergency Call Service — You don’t want to think about a serious incident but with Emergency Call Service, at least rest assured that your vehicle will automatically call for help in a situation where the driver may be unable to.
  • Breakdown Call — One press of a button and Volkswagen will make a call for breakdown assistance to the Volkswagen Roadside Assistance service. No need to know where you are, have a phone reception or even memorise a phone number!
  • Vehicle Health Report — This presents you with any existing warning messages or service events before you begin driving, avoiding unwanted surprises during a journey.

Guide & Inform

You should never feel disconnected from the rest of the world whenever you’re behind the wheel, with the Guide & Inform aspects of the Volkswagen Car-Net addressing this issue. Designed to function with Volkswagen’s Discover Navigation infotainment system, the services include:

  • News — You select the news feeds that interest you and then the latest stories are imported from the customer portal to your Volkswagen as the headlines break.
  • Weather — You can receive the latest weather conditions for both your current location and the destination you have in mind (with expected time of arrival also considered). No more needing to listen to what the weather is like on the other side of the country!
  • Online traffic information — Just like with the weather, you can keep informed about the current traffic situation, both on the road you’re on and others you’re likely to venture onto.
  • Fuel information — It can be worrying seeing the low fuel light flick on when you’re not familiar with an area. Fortunately, the ‘Fuel Info’ search function will let you know of all nearby filling stations, when they are open and how much the fuel prices are.
  • Parking information — Wave goodbye to driving around a city looking for what feels like the last available parking spot by using the ‘Parking Info’ feature. It will inform you of all free parking spaces in your vicinity, as well as opening times and prices.

Combining VW Car-Net with Alexa Voice Service

Picture the scenario — one that you’ve surely encountered if you’re a business person: part way through a journey alone, you suddenly remember something that you need to do once you reach your destination. Obviously, writing when driving is dangerous, and there is nowhere for you to stop to jot down a reminder – and no-one there to write down your task. You decide that the best course of action is to keep the errand in your mind until you stop driving. However, a few distractions are encountered throughout the remainder of your drive and by the time you’ve parked up, you’ve completely forgotten what the task was.

The Volkswagen Car-Net and Alexa Voice Service combination aims to avoid this very common annoyance, due to drivers being able to plan errands and schedule appointments by informing the system simply be talking.

You will even be able to control functions of the Car-Net and Alexa Voice Service combination when you’re not in your Volkswagen. For example, you can program a voice command such as “Alexa, ask Volkswagen the way to the nearest flower shop” when you’re at home and then hear the message come through when you’re next behind the wheel.

How VW Car-Net with Alexa Voice Service can make you a safer driver

With the penalties for using a handheld mobile phone while driving in the UK becoming much harsher recently, advancements surrounding in-car connectivity should be welcomed.

The harsher penalties come in the form of the Government doubling the penalty for getting caught using your phone while driving to a £200 fine and six points on your driving licence. You are at risk of getting caught any time you pick up a mobile phone and operate it while driving (that includes waiting in traffic or at traffic lights).

Fortunately, in-car connectivity helps to keep your hands off your phone while you’re behind the wheel — something that needs to be addressed if recent research is anything to go by.

A MyCarNeedsA.com survey reported on by FleetNews and involving more than 1,000 motorists, for instance, revealed that one in five respondents (20 per cent) admitted to making calls when they were driving. Six per cent checked social media and two per cent texted. When stuck in traffic, these stats jumped to 66 per cent who texted, 37 per cent who checked social media and 18 per cent who made calls.

The Press Association has also gathered some interesting research around this topic. Available to view in more detail on The Independent, the stats reveal that close to 6,000 drivers have been caught illegally using their mobile phones in the four weeks since March 1st — one motorist every seven minutes.

Steve Gooding, the director of the RAC Foundation, acknowledged: “Driving is a safety-critical activity that requires our full attention. Hands need to be on the wheel and eyes looking out of the windscreen, not down at the phone screen.”

Hands-free driving should become easier to abide to with continuing advancements in in-car connectivity though, especially through developments such as Alexa Voice Service mixed with Volkswagen Car-Net.