Faster responses, more advanced speech recognition and improved ease-of-use for Volkswagen’s MIB infotainment system.
For its eighth-generation, the Volkswagen Golf moved from tactile, physical interior controls to a touchscreen set-up, which wasn’t universally well-received for its ease of use. For 2022, however, Volkswagen is looking to address these concerns by introducing a new version of its MIB infotainment system, which brings faster voice control, improved accidental-touch recognition and more powerful processing.
The upgraded infotainment hardware will be fitted to brand new Golfs produced in the new year, albeit only those specified with the Discover Pro system – this provides 25 per cent more computing capacity, and three-times the graphical power as before.
Cars without Discover Pro will receive the same processing power as today’ more advanced set-up, while the new software will be available to existing Golf owners as a free update.
According to Volkswagen, switching between menus and performing tasks on the infotainment screen will be much snappier than previously, and a new voice control system means that less use of the touchscreen is required in the first place – although this depends on user choice.
Only Discover Pro-equipped cars receive the new speech recognition tech, which has been benchmarked against the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant for speed and accuracy.
Voice commands now prompt more direct dialogue from the system, reducing the number of questions it asks of the user for faster results. For example, setting a navigation destination is now up to three times faster than before. In the future, Volkswagen plans to include news and weather updates as part of the system, and the assistant will even be able to provide information from the car’s handbook when asked.
In essence, the brand is looking to reduce the need for physical controls altogether, and that extends to the climate settings.
The Golf can now identify which of the front seat passengers is speaking and cater for requests to activate their heated seat or increase the temperature on their side of the cabin, for instance. Speech recognition is now 95 per cent accurate, and the assistant uses a combination of cloud-based sources and data stored offline to respond.
Aside from the improved voice control, the Golf also incorporates accidental-touch technology in its capacitive climate and volume controls below the infotainment display. At present, the temperature and stereo volume can be easily operated by mistake while using the touchscreen, but the update will lock these controls when sensors detect a hand using the main display.
The new infotainment system will roll out in 2022 for the Golf and VW’s electric cars based on the MEB platform, including the ID.3 and ID.4, before extending to the rest of the range.