It is a journey over more than 19,000 kilometers from Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa, to North Cape, the northernmost tip of Europe. Rainer Zietlow wants to do the trip in a VW Touareg 3.0 TDI accompanied by Marius Biela and Sam Roach in just ten days – a typical target for the passionate record chaser, whose past achievements include crossing the Sahara and the first world tour in a gaseous-fuel vehicle. This time his journey takes him through nineteen countries, including Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt and Zimbabwe.
As already in 2014, automotive engineering will once again be benefiting from Rainer Zietlow's love of adventure. Together with Hewlett-Packard (HP), IAV wants to use the record journey to obtain new findings about connected cars, their possibilities and challenges. Zietlow's vehicle has a production engine but is also equipped with additional sensors and electronics for recording current information about vehicle performance and road quality during the journey; the data are sent by satellite to HP and IAV for evaluation. "Connected cars are still a rarity today, but before long cars will be constantly exchanging data with their surroundings and with other vehicles", says Jean Wagner-Douglas, Executive Vice-President of the Chassis Development division at IAV. "We are making intensive efforts to drive these developments forward and to make optimum use of all the data collected."
To this end, the IAV experts have fitted the Touareg with equipment for recording thousands of data values every second. The chassis sensors alone record about 4,000 values per second. During the first attempt, this generated 1.6 billion database lines that were analyzed by an HP specialist in the U.S. using Big Data algorithms. Among others, they supplied information about the individual driving style of the three team members and the current quality of the roads. In future, connected cars could act as "rolling sensors" for monitoring the condition of the road or as meteorological stations to improve weather forecasting. "The journey in 2014 already revealed the challenges in developing seamlessly connected cars", says Christoph Kielmann, Senior Vice-President of the Chassis Development section at IAV. "We're now working at putting these solutions into volume production as soon as possible."
The general public can join HP and IAV on the front line to follow how the team copes with its demanding task. The current position of the vehicle is shown on the internet, with the drivers posting their reports twice a day.
The Cape-to-Cape Challenge live on the internet: www.touareg-c2c2.com