Volkswagen Group unveiled the Sedric self-driving pod concept on the eve of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.
Sedric is an acronym of Self-Driving Car, and the concept is the first vehicle in the group to have been created for level 5 of autonomous driving –in other words a person as a human driver is no longer required. Sedric was devised, designed, developed and constructed in cooperation with the Future Center Europe of the Volkswagen Group in Potsdam and Volkswagen Group Research in Wolfsburg.
The idea of a simple form of individual mobility for everyone is linked to a universally usable vehicle and to an intuitive and easily understood control concept. The Button is the link between the user and Sedric. It is the key to a completely new mobility experience. This is because a single touch of the button guarantees mobility for everyone, at any time, and at any location. The control element is made of a button to press and a ring which indicates Sedric’s arrival time with colored signals and vibration signal that guides a person with impaired vision to the car.
The innovative control element functions as a universal mobility ID operating worldwide. On business trips, or at a holiday resort – just like when they are at home – you just have to press a button and Sedric drives up as an autonomous shared mobility vehicle.
As a shared mobility vehicle Sedric is part of the fleet of the Volkswagen Group’s mobility service provider. But Sedric can equally well be an individually configured owned vehicle of one of the Volkswagen 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.
The goals defined when developing Sedric were equally clearly defined as the entire mobility system: consistent reduction, very simple operation, completely intuitive handling. Just press the button – and Sedric comes along, precisely at the time indicated in advance. Sedric recognizes its user and the two-part door opens. The opening is wide and high, making it easy for passengers to get in even with luggage. There is plenty of room for bags and suitcases in the generously proportioned interior.
When a passenger gets into the car, they can talk to Sedric. Passengers can talk to Sedric about the destination, how to get there, the driving time, the current traffic situation, perhaps even a short break on the way – users can talk to Sedric like they would with a personal assistant. While you are on the road, you can choose exactly what you want to do. The windscreen is a big OLED screen with augmented reality serves as a communication and entertainment center – but passengers can also close their eyes, sit back and relax.
The language of design used to create Sedric is friendly and empathetic, and immediately generates spontaneous trust. Sedric 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.
Sedric is a vehicle which will be moving around in cityscapes, in the suburbs and in the countryside. Its body concept offers compact dimensions with the opportunity to have a generously proportioned interior. Sedric has been designed without the classic proportions of an automobile and lacks elements like bonnet or shoulders.
The new engineering structure has made this monolithic, basic body possible. Sedric is a thoroughbred electric automobile. Its battery pack is flat and has been configured between the axles, and the compact electric motor is located at the level of the wheels. Systems like air-conditioning or the electronic intelligence of the self-driving system are positioned in the compact overhangs at the front and rear.
The key difference to all other present-day automobiles is immediately tangible in the interior. Sedric does not have a driver. The steering wheel, pedals and cockpit are therefore superfluous. This permits a completely new sense of wellbeing in the vehicle – a welcome home feeling. Sedric is a comfortable lounge on wheels, equipped with carefully selected materials. One example of this is the birch leather used to upholster large surfaces. It is a haptic, natural material pleasant to the touch.
The 2+2 person design of the interior makes optimum use of the floor area of the vehicle. The two rear seats act as a very comfortable couch. Fresh air to breathe and a good air-conditioning system are ensured in a particularly ingenious design. Sedric really does have green technology on board: air-purifying plants positioned in front of the rear windscreen enhance the effect of generously dimensioned bamboo charcoal air filters.
Large window surfaces create contact with the outside world and even the large, high-resolution OLED screen is transparent and allows passengers to look out at the front.