Volkswagen “App My Ride” innovation contest in Middle East

Volkswagen is inviting designers, programmers, developers and interested users to help develop applications for the Infotainment systems of the future, as part of the “App My Ride” Open Innovation Contest. The competition invites users to jointly develop new Infotainment applications with Volkswagen, and establishes the company as the first car manufacturer to use the idea of open innovation for the further development of its products.

A jury of experts will select a winner and award prizes, including a placement for students within Volkswagen Group Research in Tokyo, Shanghai, California or Wolfsburg. Cash and non-cash prizes worth up to €14,000, will also be awarded.

“Our aim is to invite the international developer community to take part in designing a future system,” says Prof. Dr Jürgen Leohold, Head of the Volkswagen Group Research.

The competition has already drawn the interest of educational institutes in the region, such as the SAE Institute in Dubai – the largest worldwide private college for Applied Multimedia, Interactive Animation, Audio Production, and Film Production.

“Application development is a very new segment of the media industry, and this competition will help in introducing the great value that future mobile phone applications have. Its importance is clearly evident by the fact that major companies such as Volkswagen are including this new medium as part of their design and innovation plans,” said Amir Jahanlou, Senior Animation Lecturer, SAE Institute Dubai.

“The App My Ride competition is a great opportunity for students as well as staff members of our school to bring their day to day learning process to world class competition level,” continued Jahanlou. “To me, that clearly states the opportunities out there for application developers, and I believe this initiative will certainly help raise the bar of application development in this region.”

So-called apps, also known as application programmes for certain devices which are available through an online shop, have helped to contribute to the smartphone boom. Applications designed by users (User Generated Content) are of central importance to the boom and are made available online by other users. Companies like Apple and Google successfully aid this nearly inexhaustible source of innovation.

“A quiet revolution is taking place right now,” explains Dr Johann Füller, CEO of the innovation agency partner to Volkswagen through the “App My Ride” competition, Hyve AG. “The customer-orientated culture of the internet places an enormous power in the hands of the users. Leading organisations are starting to harness this power to develop better solutions and increase their competitiveness.” Exactly what the “App My Ride” contest is targeting.

Currently, a prototype for Volkswagen’s Infotainment system is being developed in which Flash applications designed by different creators can be accumulated. In order to research the potential of apps for the vehicle Infotainment system, Volkswagen is trying to produce the most varied collection of applications possible.

An “innovation community” open to all internet users has been created for the competition, under the following URL: Here, participants in the competition can log in and either load programmed apps or send in their creative ideas for future ones.

“The participants are supposed to imagine what the purpose of their ideal Infotainment system is and how it would work and now they have the opportunity to make it a reality. At the same time, you can analyse the existing apps on our platform and discuss their design, uses and purposes,” explains Dr Peter Oel, Head of “Control Designs and Drivers” of Volkswagen Group Research.

To develop an application, the participants must have the following:

– An idea for an application to be installed in a vehicle

– Graphic design of the user interface

– Programming in Adobe Flash / Flex

The purpose, design and logical construction of the app should be geared towards the possible requirements of drivers and other occupants.

The participants’ creativity will be rewarded at the end of the competition. The most innovative application will be chosen by the “App My Ride” community and a jury consisting of Volkswagen managers and external experts. The winner of the competition can also expect an exclusive trip to take part in an international vehicle presentation, which covers the costs of the flight and hotel.

Submissions for the competition close 30 June 2010.

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