The investment is, according to Volkswagen, a further milestone in the relationship between the two entities. Since 2009, the carmaker and the elite university are conducting collaborative research activities in the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory (VAIL) in Stanford, California. Fields of interest are autonomous driving, vehicle dynamics, safety and environmental topics.
Along with the renewal of the research collaboration contract, Volkswagen group CEO Martin Winterkorn has been appointed member of the Stanford Engineering Advisory Board. He will advice the university in strategic question.
Besides the VAIL Volkswagen also operates the Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) in California. The ERL is Volkswagen's largest research activity outside of Germany. Its research focuses on networked vehicles. In addition, the ERL conducts specific training programs for engineers and computer scientists.