One recent Volkswagen Group announcement that went under the radar was the Sedric concept vehicle. It was unveiled at Geneva Motor Show, but notably absent when we visited the stand.
This is the first concept car of the Volkswagen Group and also the first car they have developed to handle Level 5 autonomous driving. Put simply, this means that the Sedric concept doesn’t need a human driver. VW are calling Sedric the ‘father’ of numerous concepts brought together from all the brands under the group, with ‘children’ and ‘grandchildren’ of Sedric being developed by the Group’s brands.
Although the sub-brand children of Sedric will have the same designs typical for their identities (for example, an Audi version of Sedric would look like an Audi car), they will use the technology developed for the Sedric concept.
This Self Driving Car – where the concept gets its name – was developed from the ground up as a car that is designed entirely for autonomous driving. VW are calling it “individual mobility redefined” with autonomous driving at the touch of a button. They say that the car provides a concrete insight into an innovative form of individual mobility that can be used by everyone, and can even be geared to personal needs and aspirations.
The Volkswagen Group wants to make it as easy as possible to control this car of the future, and that’s where they have introduced The Button. The Button is the link between the user and Sedric. It is essentially a smart key fob that can be used as a universal mobility ID worldwide. If you’re on a business trip, on holiday or at home, you just press The Button and Sedric drives up as an autonomous shared mobility vehicle.
“Available at the touch of a button, easy, sustainable, convenient, and safe.”
“As a shared mobility vehicle Sedric is part of the fleet of the Volkswagen Group’s mobility service provider.” This is most likely referring to the newest company of the Volkswagen Group, MOIA – set up for the purpose of redefining mobility for people living in urban areas.
Where this concept is designed as a shared vehicle, VW does say that the concept could equally be an individually owned vehicle under one of the Group’s brands. Volkswagen is confident that many people will continue to want to own their own automobile in the future. After all, this new automobile is intelligent, it’s always available and the car even carries out functions independently. Sedric will drive the children to school and then take their parents to the office, look independently for a parking space, collects shopping that has been ordered, picks up a visitor from the station and a son from sports training – all at the touch of a button, with voice control or with a smartphone app – fully automatically, reliably and safely.
When a passenger gets in to Sedric, they step in through a huge opening that two sliding doors create to allow maximum access for people with luggage, or even accessibility needs. Inside, the passenger can talk to the AI to tell it where they want to go, how long it will take to get there, and pretty much anything you would expect from a personal assistant. This is likely going to be an extremely fluent experience thanks to the Volkswagen Group’s partnership with Amazon and their Alexa technology.
“The language of design used to create Sedric is friendly and empathetic, and immediately generates spontaneous trust. The concept conveys a robust character, safety and reliability within its muscular flanks and stable roof pillars. The two-part swing door extends up into the roof. The large opening allows passengers to enter and alight from the vehicle comfortably and with ease.”
The VW Group say that they want you to have that “welcome home feeling” every time you step in to their vehicles.