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The employee magazine
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Innovation

Light Makes the Difference

Light workshop in Building 66 in Wolfsburg: Christian Studeny from the “Licht und Sicht” (“Light and Visibility”) team in the Wolfsburg Technical Development department has developed three light signatures for the tail lights of the Touareg1, making the brand’s large SUV even more individualized.

A Touareg tail light is more than just a tail light. In the dark, it doesn’t just indicate when the driver ahead is braking. The red light also indicates whether there’s a car ahead and where it ends. “The tail light is an important component of vehicle safety, but also an important design element,” says Christian Studeny. The Touareg, with the prototype of the three light signatures, points toward the future.


One tail light, three signatures: the Touareg tail light in modes:

Normal

Comfort

Offroad

The idea is that it will be like selecting a motif on your smartphone to use as your own background image. By doing so, you personalize your smartphone, and the same will be true with the Touareg. “We wanted to give customers a chance to select their own signature for the tail lights of their Touareg,” explains developer Studeny, 36. Thus, the tail light turns the Touareg, to an even greater extent, into “my Touareg.” The hope is to increase emotional loyalty to the SUV and the brand.


Studeny and a dozen co-workers in the Light and Visibility department have developed three light signatures for the Touareg. Studeny 
is a mechanical engineer in lighting technology and technical optics who started working at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg in 2011. His hobby is photography. And he likes to create with light in his free time, too.

The light tunnel in Wolfsburg is the playing field for light developers. 
It is 100 meters long, 15 meters wide 
and five meters high.

Optical Park Assist (top): the tail light illuminates a band of
red light on the pavement and helps the driver maneuver.

The first simulations for the light signatures took place in 2016. Then Studeny and his team constructed the first prototypes. Initial simulations followed. The conversion work on the Touareg took about five months. Then the tail lights with three light signatures were installed on the brand’s large SUV. Operating them is easy; the driver can use a smartphone, the infotainment system in the cockpit or the knobs in the middle of the dashboard, where the driving mode is set.
Like the driving modes, the light signatures are also called “Normal,”, “Comfort” and “Offroad.”. Depending on the setting, different light chambers are activated in the tail light and together make up a lighting design. This results in three highly visible light signatures that really make a difference for night driving in a Touareg.


Studeny’s team is also responsible for another light innovation, Optical Park Assist. This light function helps with parallel parking in the dark. The driver shifts into reverse, sets the blinker, and the tail light then illuminates four red stripes on the pavement. They indicate how wide the Touareg is and the direction of movement. Other drivers or passers-by will thus be better able to see what’s happening during the parallel parking process. This light assistant also helps the driver, because the illuminated stripes are easy to see in the side mirror. “This provides better orientation and more safety for the person at the wheel,” notes Studeny, adding that “preliminary development of this parking assistant is already well underway. It will once again allow customers to experience an entirely new dimension of light.”

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