Safety steering column 

The safety steering column includes features which can be collapsed like a telescope in a collision, preventing the steering from penetrating the interior. Telescopic rods and additional joints ensure significant decoupling of steering wheel movement from the end wall deformation in a crash. This reduces the risk of injury to the driver. In crashes which do not exceed a specific level of severity, the steering wheel and airbag have a fixed position in front of the driver. An in-built shifting mechanism with a damping function reduces the impact on the chest and head insofar as is technically possible.

See also:
Restraint system

Image of the safety steering column in a VW Scirocco

SCR catalytic converter  

The SCR (selective catalytic reduction) catalytic converter converts the exhaust gas component nitrogen oxide (NOx) selectively into nitrogen (N2) and water (H2O) without the formation of undesired side products. The conversion is performed using a synthetically produced, diluted reducing agent, such as AdBlue® (ISO 22241-1 / AUS 32), which is added to an additional tank.
Depending on the vehicle, the customer may also have to top up AdBlue® themselves, or have it topped up by their authorised workshop, between services. The dosage is based on the exhaust gas flow rate; engine management in conjunction with an NOx sensor behind the SCR catalytic converter ensure a precise dosage.

See also:
AdBlue®
NOx storage catalytic converter

Image of a Volkswagen SCR catalytic converter

Seat belt 

The main system for protecting vehicle occupants is the three-point automatic seat belt.
Its task is to keep occupants in their seats in the event of an accident, so that they are slowed down as much as the vehicle where possible and not exposed to excessive, uncontrolled forces.
The automatic roll device makes it easy to put on and offers maximum wearing comfort for a wide range of heights and seating positions. Belt tensioners compensate for slack by tightening the seatbelt on impact, ensuring it fits closely to the body. The belt force limiter reduces the maximum belt force, reducing the risk of injury to occupants’ upper bodies. Its effect is boosted in particular in combination with belt tensioners and airbags for front seat occupants.

See also:
Airbag
Belt force limiter
Belt tensioner
Restraint system

Image of the seat belt in a VW Golf

Semi-public charging

Certain supermarkets and companies provide charging stations on their car parks where the current is generally free of charge.

Illustration of an ID.3 at charging station

Semi-trailing arm axle 

Balanced comfort and driving characteristics are the hallmark of the semi-trailing arm axle. In the semi-trailing arm rear axle, the wheels are carried on links which move at an angle to the vehicle’s longitudinal axis during compression and rebounding. The compact design allows for a large luggage compartment.

See also:
MacPherson axle
MacPherson suspension strut
Double wishbone axle
Multi-link rear axle
Trapezium link rear axle
Torsion beam rear axle
Four-link front axle

Image of a Volkswagen semi-trailing arm axle

‘Side Assist’ lane change system 

The ‘Side Assist’ lane change system helps the driver change lanes. Two radar systems in the rear record areas up to approximately 50 metres behind the vehicle and in the blind spot beside the vehicle.
Irrespective of whether the vehicle is changing lanes, ‘Side Assist’ shows all vehicles which are in an area critical to lane changes. The system indicates the potential hazard with a constant light in the relevant rear view mirror. If the driver operates the turn signal switch nevertheless, the LED light will start flashing more brightly and draw attention to the hazard.
Instead of distracting the driver with unnecessary warnings, the difference in speeds is taken into account at all times. ‘Side Assist’ only indicates vehicles which might actually cause a hazard when changing lanes.
The lane change system operates from a speed of 30 km/h and is activated the touch of a button. ‘Side Assist’ is the ideal technical addition to the vehicle (exterior mirror) and and driver (look over the shoulder) to prevent hazard situations when changing lanes and make the driver’s life easier.

See also:
Driver assist systems

Two Volkswagens driving on a street by night from above. The ‘Side Assist’ sensor system is depicted using lines

Side impact protection 

Due to the lack of space for deformation on the vehicle side and the immediate proximity of vehicle occupants to the other party to the accident, it is hard to compare the circumstances of a side-on crash with a front crash. Unless in the front or rear section, the vehicle body offers few options here for absorbing energy through material deformation. In the event of a crash, to ensure the most targeted deformation of the passenger compartment possible, this area must have a particularly stable design and the restraint systems used must be developed to come into play in a few milliseconds
At Volkswagen, various protective mechanisms are used on the vehicle flank to sustainably reduce the risk of injury:

  • Side impact bars increase the rigidity of the doors and distribute the forces occurring in a side-on crash.
  • Significant door overlap with the pillars increases the resistance to crumpling. This allows the forces occurring in a crash to be diverted to the underbody and roof trusses more effectively.
  • Stable A, B and C pillars ensure a crumple-resistant passenger compartment.
  • Solid transverse bracing in the underbody ensures the necessary residual space.
  • Optimally arranged side airbags and curtain airbags act as the restraint system in the event of side impact.

See also:
Passenger compartment
Restraint system

Schematic diagram of side impact protection in a Volkswagen

Side-wind compensation 

The side-wind compensation gives Volkswagen’s electromechanical power steering added comfort and safety. This comfort feature helps the driver in constant side winds or on a driving surface with an incline on one side. If the EPS control unit records constant counter-steering by the driver, the power steering adjusts to this automatically and compensates for it. The fact that the driver no longer needs to actively counter-steer makes their life easier and greatly improves comfort.

See also:
Electromechanical power steering