BELMONT, Calif. — For more than 20 years, innovations have flowed from Volkswagen Group’s lab in the heart of Silicon Valley and into the lineups of the automaker’s global brands.
The Google Earth-based onboard navigation system? It came from this lab. The automaker’s advancements toward autonomous driving? Those came from here, too.
In all, 175 patents and dozens of products can trace their roots to this lab, which this month has been renamed the Innovation and Engineering Center California. It is Volkswagen’s second-largest vehicle research facility, behind its counterpart in Germany. Beyond the name change, the lab will divide its mission between shorter- and longer-range projects.
As Volkswagen transitions toward a lineup with scores of battery-electric vehicles, the lab between San Francisco and San Jose will be responsible for making those products technologically advanced and customer-oriented.
And that is due in large part to the neighborhood, says Nikolai Reimer, the…