Share your voice Concept Cars Electric Cars Classic Cars Vans 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous Tags 3:28 VW’s adorable I.D. Buzz charms us on the California coast 10 Photos 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better Comments More From Roadshow Enlarge ImageIt might be a little too SEMA-y for some people’s tastes, but those weird orange bits are made using some unique methods. Volkswagen VW’s undergoing a bit of rebranding, taking its Electronics Research Laboratory in Silicon Valley and turning it into the Innovation and Engineering Center California, which will be its largest R&D facility outside Germany. To commemorate the occasion, it’s rolled out a wicked new concept that mixes both new and old.Volkswagen on Tuesday unveiled the Type 20 concept. Starting with a 1962 Type 2 11-window microbus, the automaker ripped out its guts and replaced it with something just a little more up to date. It sports a 10-kilowatt-hour battery, a 2,500-watt onboard charger and an electric motor that makes 120 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque. There’s more than just a new powertrain in there. A clever pneumatic suspension, developed with Porsche, allows the Type 20 to change its ride height through software, rising as the driver approaches. Using a 720p wide-angle camera in the driver’s second window, the concept uses facial recognition to allow the driver entry to the vehicle.It keeps getting weirder, too. There are direction microphones in three locations — outside in the front, by the driver and in the back where the passengers are. These feed into a voice assistant that is capable of understanding more natural language commands than what VW currently offers in its passenger cars. If a command is given from the exterior, the vehicle “responds” with LED-light feedback through the headlights and the VW badge on the front end, but it can respond to certain questions like, “Are you ready to go?” Facial recognition technology means that the Type 20 will greet you by name as you approach and unlock the door for you. A quick look at the pictures below shows some weird, wild structures both inside and outside the Type 20 concept. These were created with the help of Autodesk, using something VW calls “generative design,” which creates some very organic shapes for the wheels, steering wheel, side mirror stanchions and the supports for the rear seats. Volkswagen determined a set of physical parameters and let a computer design around them. Designers then drilled down further until they had look that you see here. Weird, but still really cool. There’s also a holographic display in the dashboard that doesn’t require special glasses, likely an extension of the GTI concept VW created for this year’s Wörthersee show.Volkswagen will bring the Type 20 to Monterey Car Week later this summer, but its permanent home will be at the new Innovation and Engineering Center California to show visitors and employees alike what is possible using off-the-beaten-path ideas. Other historic and prototype cars will be on display alongside it, as well. 2 VW Type 20 concept takes what’s old and makes it new again Volkswagen Now playing: Watch this: 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value Volkswagen
5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. May 30, 2017 Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global In recent years, mobile apps exploded on the scene and, almost instantly changed the way we live. These days, it seems as though everyone has a great idea for how to break into the market.Related: Getting Started With Small Business App DevelopmentIn fact, there are now nearly 7 million total apps available in the leading app stores. With so many programs competing for people’s attention, building yet another enticing interface is no easy task.A study conducted by App Annie in the first quarter of 2017 found that, on average, people worldwide use between eight and 12 apps per day on their smartphones. So, if you want to break into that exclusive circle, the competition is real, and you have to find ways to deliver something which people cannot live without.Here are three tips to keep in mind throughout the development process.Make sure customers can able identify the value, quickly.One of the unfortunate side effects of the internet, and the current state of technology, is that attention spans have become disturbingly short. One key study put the average right around eight seconds.With that being said, you need to promote your app’s unique selling proposition (USP) right off the bat. As a general rule of thumb, if you can’t fully describe the purpose and functionality in a sentence or two, it’s too complicated.Regardless of what type of app you are building, it needs to be conveyed as something that changes people’s lives for the better. Or at least, proves itself useful immediately.Take CM Security Master, for example. This company knows Android phones are susceptible to viruses. So, it created an intuitive privacy-protection program (available on Google Play) that scans your phone and identifies risks in real-time. Then, it cleans out the infections so your phone can work at 100 percent efficiency and your valuable data is safe.Related: 3 Ways to Build A Mobile App With No Tech SkillsClearly, its creators found a problem in the status quo, and built a tool that solves it. Its USP can be described in a few words.The takeaway: The success of a mobile app depends substantially on how well you communicate the value. In your messaging, get right to the point!Find ways to connect people.In the digital universe we call home, one of the main themes is about bringing people together. Apps have an interesting way of fabricating their own universe. A good goal to have during development is to create an authentic following in which users can add to the progression of your platform.Your mission should be to design an arena of shared value iwhich people can’t get anywhere else.The “for the people, by the people” mentality is a great idea to promote. The creators behind apps like Planet Peepz have nailed this concept down to a tee. Billed as the “very first discount shopping platform,” this program aims to build a community in which users can help one other find the best deals in the area.Within the app, businesses can create their own ads, coupons, loyalty programs and upsells, and access free reservation and appointment software.Primarily designed for service providers like dentists, vets, salons and other professionals, Planet Peepz constructed a virtual society where both consumers and establishments can reap the benefits of free cross-promotion opportunities and customer management.The takeaway: To be successful in connecting like-minded people, you’ve got to push your platform as a one-of-a-kind experience where everyone involved benefits and shares value.Keep it simple.As previously stated, attention spans are at an all-time low. It’s safe to say that smartphones themselves are a contributing factor to this phenomenon. Above all else, the usability of your app should be easy to grasp from the get-go.Users’ time is precious. Chances are, most won’t sit down to read and sift through directions. For this reason, you need to make sure every aspect of your program can be picked up and mastered within minutes — or seconds.”One of the most common factors I’ve seen in successful apps is simplicity,” says Jeff Shuford, president of Tech From Vets, a digital development company aimed at helping military veterans expand their technology-based ventures. “No one wants to spend hours trying to figure out how to use an app to its fullest extent. There should always be a sense of instant gratification.”In relation to this concept, one of the best examples today is Uber. When the founders set out, they wanted to create a simplified solution for hailing cabs. Upon opening the app, the user can get the results needed in a matter of seconds. And there’s barely anyone who can’t understand how it works.The takeaway: Smartphones are meant to make people’s lives easier. The first impression the user has and the impression your program intends should be the same.Building an app these days is a tedious job. Most people are content with the current programs on their phones and are not easily persuaded to add more to the mix. Keeping this in mind, you really need to focus on setting yourself apart, to break this tough barrier. Always be asking yourself: “How does this improve lives?”Related: A Guide On How To Get New App IdeasRemember, simply getting people to download your app is only the tip of the iceberg. You need to constantly be testing the flow and looking for ways to improve. No app is perfect. You must be committed and open to change throughout its entire lifespan. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.