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Volkswagen Group introduces first Group autonomous driving concept: Sedric

At the Geneva Motor Show, the Volkswagen Group is introducing Sedric (self-driving car)—an SAE Level 5 autonomous battery-electric vehicle concept. Sedric is the first concept car from the Volkswagen Group (as opposed to being a concept car developed by one of the Group brands). It was conceived, developed and built at the Volkswagen Group Future Center in Potsdam in collaboration with Volkswagen Group Research in Wolfsburg. Sedric demonstrates how a new integrated mobility system could function in future.

The Volkswagen Group is using Sedric to highlight the major importance of fully automated driving in the future strategy of the company.

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To avoid any misunderstanding: the Volkswagen Group will not be building its own cars in the future, either. That is something our brands excel in. But our concept car stands for a new self-image and a new form of collaboration and know-how transfer in the Group.

—Matthias Müller, Volkswagen Group CEO

The Volkswagen Group has always democratized individual mobility in many countries of the world with its brands. The company will also make advanced technology and safety available for all with its new mobility concept. The Concept Car Sedric is a central component of this mobility solution. In conjunction with its equally innovative control system, Sedric is intended to give new meaning to the concept of autonomous driving.

While the design, development, production and marketing of automobiles will continue to play a key role in the future strategy of the Volkswagen Group, smart mobility solutions are also being established with the same focus as another division of the Group and its brands. The investment in the mobility service provider Gett and establishment of the mobility service provider MOIA are important steps on this roadmap.

In the future, fully automated vehicles will enrich the mobility experience of many people. A mobility concept based on intensively used vehicles will take up less space, will consume less energy, and will be safer and more sustainable at the same time. The concept offers tailor-made mobility for everyone: adults and children, retirees and people with physical disabilities, city people who do not have their own car or a driving license, and visitors in a new city and suddenly decide they want to get from A to B in a convenient mobility setting.

Not only is Sedric the first Group-level Concept Car, it is also the first vehicle in the group to have been created for level 5 of autonomous driving. Sedric is the pioneer, the ideas platform for autonomous driving in the Volkswagen Group. And it is the “Father” of numerous concepts for a new form of individual mobility. Soon Sedric will also get “children” and “grandchildren” with the Group’s various brands. They will be created in typical designs for the brands and will feature tailor-made and customer-specific characteristics for equipment.

The Sedric mobility experience. 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—the control element—between the user and Sedric.

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The innovative control element with a pushbutton and a ring with colored signals. Photo: Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. Click to enlarge.

The innovative control element functions as a universal mobility ID operating worldwide. On business trips, or at a holiday resort—just like when at home—The user just presses 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, collect shopping that has been ordered, pick up a visitor from the station and a child from sports training—all at the touch of a button, with voice control or with a smartphone app—-fully automatically, reliably and safely.

The user experience. 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.

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 on the road, passengers can choose exactly what they 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 design experience. The language of design used to create Sedric is friendly and empathetic, and is intended to generate 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. 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.

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