A single push of a button is all it takes to summon the vehicle. Colored signals display its arrival time. Another three, two, one... and Sedric appears. With Sedric – the Group’s first Self-Driving-Car – Volkswagen offered a tangible insight into what autonomous vehicles might look like at an advanced stage of development at the Geneva International Motor Show.
“Sedric performs all driving functions independently. It is smart and extremely simple to operate – it doesn’t need a steering wheel, pedals or a cockpit,” said Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management, at the unveiling of Sedric (Self-Driving-Car) on the eve of the motor show.
Even its exterior is very different from today’s cars. Sedric does not have standard elements such as a hood. The compact electric engine is positioned at wheel height, while the flat battery unit is mounted between the axles. The interior offers a comfortable lounge where four passengers can use the travel time to work, phone, talk or simply to relax.
“Sedric was systematically developed to meet the needs of its users. The vehicle drives up with a press of the OneButton. It recognizes the passenger and the door opens. The passenger gets in, finds a place for their bags and sits down. They can then speak to Sedric like a personal assistant. All further communication – where to go, how long it will take, what the guest will find there – is voice-operated.”
Sedric was conceived, designed, developed and built by the Volkswagen Group’s Future Center Europe in Potsdam in cooperation with Volkswagen Group Research in Wolfsburg.
As an electric car, Sedric is emission-free and quiet. Its technical backbone is the MEB modular electrification toolkit, the basis for the Volkswagen Group’s future generation of purely electric vehicles. At the same time, Sedric represents a mobility concept that offers greater safety and personalized mobility for everyone. “Unlike a person, a self-driving car is always wide awake, never distracted and never tired,” said Müller. Children can use a car like Sedric just as easily as seniors or people with physical disabilities.
“Unlike a person, a self-driving car is always wide awake, never distracted and never tired.”
People who cannot or do not want to buy a car are also mobile any time with the OneButton. “Sedric can be a shared mobility vehicle from the Volkswagen Group’s pool or a private vehicle. Many of our customers will want to own a car in the future, too – but they can share this vehicle with family, friends or neighbors any time they want.”
As the Volkswagen Group’s first concept vehicle, Sedric also stands for the transformation of the company
“To be clear: the Group will not build its own cars, not now and not in the future. This is what our brands do, and do well. The study represents a new understanding of the Volkswagen Group as a catalyst and incubator for ideas. It looks far into the future and bundles the creativity, the expertise and the knowledge of our Group family, which in turn provides the brands. This enables us to bring innovation to our customers even faster,” said the Chairman of the Board of Management.
According to Müller, Volkswagen will invest several billion euros into the core technology for autonomous driving and artificial intelligence in the coming years alone. “We will get the top specialists on board and bundle these strengths in the Group.”
Müller believes that cards are currently being reshuffled in the automotive industry as a result of new trends, technologies and competitors. This is why the Group has initiated the transformation from an automobile manufacturer to a mobility provider of the future with its “TOGETHER – Strategy 2025” future program.
“We are optimists here at Volkswagen. We focus on the opportunities, not just the risks. And we will turn the disruption in our industry into a new beginning.”
At the same time, the Volkswagen Group also aims to continue to develop, design and build the best vehicles for the here and now
“One thing we will never change is the strengths that make us who we are. The quality of our vehicles, the emotionality of our brands, our innovation in classic technologies – first and foremost increasingly efficient combustion engines, which will accompany us for at least another 20 years.”
This view is supported by the 60 new vehicles that the Group brands will deliver to customers this year, including core models such as the new Volkswagen Polo and T-ROC, the ŠKODA Yeti and SEAT Ibiza, the Porsche Cayenne, Audi A8 and the Bentley Continental GT.