Car Industry

Volkswagen is ready to rain $4 billion on its digital businesses

Volkswagen seeks to pump some heavy cash into a new vehicle operating system and car-share platform -- but will it work?

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Volkswagen is ready to invest heavily to the tune of $4 billion in the digital backbone of its business over the next few years.

Julian Stratenschulte/AFP/Getty Images

Volkswagen is a company with seemingly bottomless pockets, because it just announced that it will be investing $4 billion in its digital businesses and tools over the next few years, and that isn't chump change, friend.

"We will be a device and software company," Michael Jost, the VW brand's strategy chief, said at a press conference. "To deal with this development, we need to reinvent the automobile."

There's no way that could backfire, right?

Anyway, among the developments that VW has planned are a new in-car operating system for its future electric vehicles. The platform will be called "vw.OS" and is expected to make it into production vehicles in 2020, according to Automotive News. The big benefit of this one, powerful in-car OS is the ability to roll out over-the-air updates, much like Tesla, which is faster and much simpler than requiring cars to visit a dealer and be updated manually.

VW is also making it rain on other projects, including a cloud-based computing system which will be used to connect people and vehicles for things such as car sharing. To that end, Volkswagen is already planning on launching its "We Share" car-sharing service in Berlin next year with a fleet of around 2,000 EVs.

We Share is meant to compete with similar car-sharing services from BMW and Daimler, and will eventually be expanded beyond Europe to cities in the US, though it is not yet clear which cities those will be.