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Our latest safety innovation

Our latest safety innovation.

In 2014, Volkswagen was the biggest R&D spending company worldwide, investing in US$13.5 billion. Innovation and safety are critical pillars of our brand.

Dangerous decisions on the road occur due to momentary lapses in judgment. Our rational, responsible selves take a backseat to the irrational person racing to a meeting, or overtaking a frustratingly slow driver.

The Volkswagen Reduce Speed Dial experiment aims to disrupt behaviour at this critical moment.

In a controlled experiment, we created a replacement panel for the speedo in four Volkswagen Golfs. They followed all of the clarity and safety restrictions of a standard speedo, but the dial was personally hand written by a loved one. This simple, personal mnemonic aims to remind drivers what they have to live for at the exact moment they consider speeding.

We followed four Kiwi families and their driving habits to understand the impact of this idea and whether we could in fact, engineer safer drivers.

- One family had no recorded speed infringements after the installation of the personalised speed dial
- One family reduced their top speed by 19kmh from a max of 123km to a max of 104km
- Half of the drivers’ maximum speeds reduced after fitting their personalised speed dial
- Three out of the four drivers reduced their incidence of speeding in 100km zones by 50%.

Overall, all of the families reduced their speed in multiple driving situations.

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Safety designed by your kids

Safety designed by your kids

An application was built and the children were able to design their parents’ speed dials by simply selecting colours and copying the numbers presented on the tablet’s screen. Images were able to be created too, which added to the sense that the children were there in the car with them all the time.

The Collins Family

Parents: Hamish (35) and Jitske (31)

Kids: Katelyn (9), Christian (7) and William (3)

The Collins Family

The Rauch Family

Parents: Sarah (41)

Kids: Hannah (13) and Lydia (11)

The Rauch Family

The Bailey Family

Parents: Genelle (49) and Brent (58)

Kids: Jessica (19) and Bianca (15)

The Bailey Family

The Stranaghan Family

Parents: Craig (48) and Simone (48)

Kids: Marjolane (9.5)

The Stranaghan Family

Where to from here?

The results we’ve achieved to date suggest we’re onto something interesting. While it’s not available today, we’re looking into how it could be tomorrow.