Radio Data System (RDS) 

RDS stands for Radio Data System and is a radio broadcasting corporation service. As well as the audio broadcast programme, information is transmitted in the form of encrypted digital signals which can be analysed by RDS-ready radios. This makes it possible to transmit additional services such as broadcaster name (PSN), radio text (RT) or the labelling of traffic programmes (TP) or traffic disruption (e.g. traffic jams, accidents, road closures via TMC). Transmission of alternative frequencies (AF) in RDS permits adjustment to the frequency of the current broadcast programme with the best reception.  When a signal becomes weaker, the radio switches automatically to an improved broadcast frequency of the same station.
Traffic Announcement (TA) conveys traffic reports at a preset volume, even when other sources (CD, SD or other media) are being played or the radio is switched off. Within a broadcasting network, the system also automatically switches from a station not broadcasting traffic news to the relevant traffic news station (EON, Enhanced Other Network).
The radio station operators are responsible for the accuracy of RDS information. RDS is already in use throughout Europe. However, in other parts of the world (e.g. North America, China), RDS is playing an increasingly important role in conjunction with broadcaster name (PSN) and traffic information (TMC).

Volkswagen on-board computer with focus on the Radio Data System

 Radio Navigation System

The radio navigation system combines navigation with multimedia entertainment.

See also:
Navigation system

Image of the radio navigation system in the on-board computer of a VW Passat

Rain sensor

Volkswagen's rain sensor automatically controls the wipe frequency of the wiper according the intensity of the rain. The sensor at the base of the interior mirror consists of several infrared LEDs and one central photodiode. The light emitted by the LEDs is reflected by the windscreen to the photosensor. The more water droplets are on the windscreen, the less light is received by the sensor. This information is passed on to an electronic control unit that adjusts the wiping frequency of the wiper accordingly. The sensor’s sensitivity can also be adapted using a selector switch.

The rain sensor is designed so that neither minor damage, dirt nor ageing of the windscreen can have a negative impact on its function. The driver can focus all their attention on what's happening on the road without having to change the wiping frequency. This is a major benefit, particularly in the event of sudden obstructions of view, such as when overtaking a lorry on a wet surface.

Image of the rain sensor in the VW Up!’s windscreen

Ramp angle  

The ramp angle describes the transition angle from a horizontal level to a gradient.

Schematic diagram of the ramp angle in a VW Touareg


The range is the distance that can be covered with a fully charged battery without the need to recharge. The actual range depends in practice on the driving style, speed, use of comfort features and auxiliary equipment, ambient temperature, number of passengers, load and terrain.

Illustration of a map of Europe


The RDE test procedure is used alongside WLTP to measure emissions in Europe. RDE stands for Real Driving Emissions. Unlike with NEDC and WLTP, emissions are not measured on the test bed, but in moving traffic. The emissions detected while driving in traffic are known as real emissions.

RDE driving cycle
In RDE measurement, a route mix with random acceleration and braking lasting between 90 and 120 minutes is travelled. The vehicle is equipped with a PEMS (Portable Emissions Measurement System) test box. This device measures exhaust emissions (nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide) and the associated engine, vehicle and environmental parameters on a predefined route. In combination with GPS data, these help establish a more precise correlation between driving situation and exhaust gas output.  

See also:

A VW Golf driving through a city at dusk, front view

Rear Seat Entertainment (RSE)  

Volkswagen’s exclusive rear seat entertainment system offers rear seat passengers top-level multimedia entertainment. The main components are a flat TFT screen in the headliner or two screens in the front seat head restraints, a DVD player and an additional control unit in the rear centre console. This also has headphone jacks to help avoid disturbing other passengers and an extra video and audio input. An external source can be connected, such as a games console.
DVD sound is output either through headphones or via the radio system speaker. To ensure the driver and passengers can still listen to the radio while a DVD is playing, Rear Seat Entertainment and the radio system can also be operated separately.

Graphic display of Rear Seat Entertainment screen in VW Touareg

Rear Traffic Alert  

The Rear Traffic Alert helps drivers, within the system’s limitations, drive out of a parking space. Sensors in the rear bumper allow the system to monitor the area behind the vehicle and to the side much sooner than the driver. If the vehicle becomes critically close to another vehicle, the driver is informed by a sound. If the driver does not react, in the event of an upcoming collision, the system can reduce or ideally prevent the potential consequences of an accident.
The Rear Traffic Alert is offered in combination with the Blind Spot Sensor or ‘Side Assist’ lane change system.

See also:
Blind Spot Sensor
‘Side Assist’ lane change system

Schematic diagram of the Rear Traffic Alert based on a VW Arteon

‘Rear View’ camera system

The ‘Rear View’ camera system helps the driver reverse. The area behind the vehicle is displayed in the camera image on the radio or radio navigation system.

In some models, ‘Rear View’ also provides parking assistance by showing driving lanes over the camera image. These show the direction the vehicle would travel in with the current steering wheel angle or when steering input is required. Depending on the vehicle equipment specifications, what is shown on the display may vary.

This allows the vehicle to approach any obstacle safely – whether it’s a bumper or a kerbside. Attaching a trailer is no longer an issue, either.

See also:
Driver assist systems

Image of the ‘Rear View’ camera system in the on-board computer of a VW Passat

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries

Lithium ion rechargeable batteries are batteries with a very high energy density. They are thermally stable. The occurrence of a memory effect is therefore very rare. Volkswagen relies on this type of technology in view of its positive properties.


Recuperation (brake energy recovery) helps make optimum use of energy which is already expended while driving.

The energy released when braking or in overrun is converted into electrical energy in a generator through recuperation. It is stored in the battery and used in future acceleration processes. The battery can supply electrical equipment and ease the strain of driving the generator on the engine.

Thanks to this system of generator control and constantly optimally charged battery, the alternator voltage can be reduced – such as when accelerating or constantly keeping to the desired speed. It is even possible to switch off the generator entirely. This relieves the strain on the engine and reduces consumption.

As well as a suitable generator and battery, the system also includes a smart battery management system with additional monitoring functions for the battery charge level.

See also:
Energy management

View of an infotainment system, recuperation display


Recycling means returning raw materials to the material cycle, i.e. reuse in new products.

Previously, the focus of recycling in vehicles was mainly on the metal component. However, increasing progress is being made towards reusing as much of the entire vehicle as possible. A vehicle’s suitability for recycling is now taken into consideration as early as the design stage.

Before any recycling takes place, at Volkswagen, the principle is to avoid waste. That's why most components, resources and raw materials are delivered in reusable packaging by suppliers. 95 per cent of all manufacturing waste is recycled. Furthermore, materials and resources in the vehicle are labelled to make them easier to sort during the recycling process.

A mountain of several old wheel rims

Remote control  

The central locking remote control offers maximum convenience. It can be used to lock and unlock all vehicle doors and the boot lid via a wireless signal. Depending on equipment, a simple setting also allows unlocking to be limited to the driver door (single door unlocking).
Access to the tank flap is also automatically controlled with the central locking commands. The boot lid can be opened individually where required using a separate button on the remote control. The vehicle’s locks are designed to ensure that once they have been locked using the remote control, doors can no longer be opened using the inner door handle, dramatically improving anti-theft protection. The lock button inside the vehicle also protects against robberies. In a dangerous situation, this allows the driver to lock all the doors and the luggage compartment at the same time from the inside with a quick press of a button.
Access to the luggage compartment is blocked by the central locking when the vehicle starts.  This helps prevent unauthorised access. The block is automatically lifted again once the ignition key is removed or someone leaves the vehicle.
In addition, the speed-based automatic full locking can also be activated. This locks all doors and the luggage compartment once the vehicle is driving faster than 15 km/h. In that case, unlocking also takes place automatically once the ignition key has been removed or one of the occupants opens a door.

Image of a Volkswagen remote control key

Restraint system  

Restraint systems are responsible for minimising the risk of injury to occupants inside the passenger compartment. The front crash restraint system consists of properly attached seatbelts with belt tensioners and belt force limiters, driver and front passenger airbags and, where applicable, a knee air bag, safety steering column and properly adjusted seats and head restraints.

See also:
Belt force limiter
Belt tensioner

Schematic diagram of the restraint system in the VW Golf

Route guidance, dynamic 

With dynamic route guidance, in the event of traffic reports on obstacles, slow-moving traffic, traffic jams or road closures, the navigation system checks whether the bottleneck can be avoided and guides the driver through a newly calculated alternative route.
To do this, the navigation system uses the traffic information received via the Traffic Message Channel (TMC).

See also:
Navigation system
Traffic message channel (TMC)

VW navigation system displaying traffic information via the traffic message channel.

Running gear  

The running gear consists of all of a vehicle’s moving parts which help connect it to the road. This includes the wheels, wheel suspension, vehicle suspension, shock absorber, steering and brakes. There are different types of running gear:
Sports running gear
With a vehicle body lower to the ground and a specific arrangement of springs, shock absorbers and stabilisers, this running gear offers extra driving fun and great comfort.
Heavy-duty running gear
A higher-up running gear than the normal running gear with greater ground clearance and suspension, shock absorber and stabilisers adapted to the particular conditions.
Sport Select running gear
The Sport Select running gear has a vehicle body approx. 15 mm lower to the ground and switchable dampers. The driver can choose between two running gear settings, ‘Normal’ or ‘Sport’, at the touch of a button.

Schematic diagram of the running gear in a VW Arteon