The Cloud Team from the Technical Development department and the group’s IT department.
The Cloud Team from the Technical Development department and the group’s IT department.
( Source: Volkswagen AG)

CLOUD SOLUTIONS Virtual vehicle construction from the home office

Editor: Florian Richert

During the corona pandemic, Volkswagen’s Technical Development team set up more than 1,000 digital workstations for computing-intensive tasks. The experts save a lot of time – while protecting the climate.

Assembly simulations, 3D components or virtual vehicle construction: Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Volkswagen developers have been performing many computer-intensive tasks from their desks at home. With a so-called Citrix cloud connection, a small team created the prerequisites for sufficient computing power within days last spring. Technical Development (TE) is thus one of many corporate divisions that work digitally and at the same time, more sustainably than before corona.

From the home office, a laptop including software such as Skype, Outlook and the like is sufficient for most employees. This is not the case for experts in pre-development, series construction, simulation or virtual validation. They deal with huge amounts of data and need high computing power. That’s why their workplace used to be permanently located on the Wolfsburg factory premises – also to guarantee data security and protect the developers’ know-how. The Covid-19 virus changed everything: computer-aided development in TE became impossible, downtime was imminent, and a solution had to be found quickly. A task force made up of TE and Group IT found a solution by expanding a cloud solution that had been in use as a pilot project since late 2019.

Secure access – from anywhere

However, it was not only the technology that was challenging, which has now been made available to many users – whether internal developers or engineers from suppliers.Data and know-how protection also played an important role. “With care and at high speed, we were also able to sufficiently ensure data protection during the transition to digital working methods. The data remains on our servers and the Citrix Cloud ensures secure access from wherever you are,” emphasizes Luigi Morreale from Group IT.

It only took 14 days for the team of experts to acquire temporary licenses for so-called Citrix Cloud use and to ensure adequate data protection. In addition, the team led by Morreale and Christian Mandel from the pre-series center developed a process to connect employees digitally and provide them with support when they need it.

“As if I were on site”

Users of the cloud solution were highly satisfied in a survey conducted in May 2020. One hundred seventy-nine employees – internal and external – took part. One of them, Oleg Schleining from Data Management Services, explains: “The digital connection is stable and fast. I can now work from home as if I were on site.” More than 80 percent of the employees surveyed wanted to continue working digitally with cloud solutions.

The TE team, which implemented the pilot solution in the shortest possible time after the start of the corona break, is now working with IT to evaluate the cloud solution as a digital work technology and possibly establish it in the longer term. “At least for as long as the pandemic lasts – and perhaps even beyond,” says Mandel.