The Volkswagen Group is consistently developing its own vision of mobility as SEDRIC. The company is presenting its latest evolution stage of the SElf-DRIving Car at the preview night on the evening before the start of the International Motor Show (IAA) 2017 in Frankfurt/Main. In future, this car will form the platform for a diverse model family.
SEDRIC is the first concept car from the Volkswagen Group and it symbolises the transformation of the company from a thoroughbred vehicle manufacturer to an integrated provider of hardware, software and digital mobility services. The concept for mobility of tomorrow combines fully automated driving at Level 5, electrification and digital networking. It permits simple, convenient, sustainable and safe mobility for everybody at the touch of a button. The Volkswagen Group will achieve this vision within the concept of urban mobility and in numerous other vehicle concepts from sports cars, through luxurious touring saloons to lightweight commercial vehicles and trucks.
The Volkswagen Group is the first automobile manufacturer worldwide to present a completely new eco-system in the form of SEDRIC for individual mobility, and simultaneously a vehicle designed specifically for this purpose. SEDRIC's latest evolutionary stage presents the most recent advances in the areas of design, technology and digital networking alongside the potential for wide-ranging differentiation of the concept based on diverse usage scenarios and mobility needs. This is underpinned by the conviction that all-electric autonomous driving and comprehensive digital networking do not need to be limited to urban mobility. "Our team is already working on ideas for an entire SEDRIC family. This will range from fully autonomous vehicles for the city, through luxurious long-distance mobility and spectacular sports cars, self-driving delivery vans and heavy trucks," commented the Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen AG, Matthias Müller.
Consistently designed around the human and for the human
The development of SEDRIC results from cooperation between Future Center Europe in Potsdam and Volkswagen Group Research in Wolfsburg. A completely new form of mobility experience is being created for the customer with collaboration between the established discipline of vehicle design and the new development field of user experience design. "SEDRIC is a synonym for the future of individual mobility," said Johann Jungwirth, Chief Digital Officer of the Volkswagen Group. "The initial self-driving vehicles will be seen on the streets of the first cities from 2021. There will be an exponential development taking place across a large number of regions."
SEDRIC has been designed consistently by people for people. The vehicle will be available for its users round the clock and can be called up at any time using the Volkswagen OneButton, the mobility app or the digital assistant in order to transport individuals conveniently from door to door. "SEDRIC will make a huge social contribution because it offers individual mobility to visually-impaired people, members of the older generation, physically-challenged individuals and children," continued Jungwirth. "Furthermore, the fully autonomous mobility concept gives back around 38,000 hours to each person – for reading, learning, enjoyment, relaxation, playing and working."
Memorable design identifies innovative character at first glance
The pioneering concept of autonomous mobility available for everybody at the touch of a button is also reflected in the vehicle design. At first glance, SEDRIC is recognisable as a completely innovative vehicle concept. The memorable design of its exterior is defined by the monolithic proportions without a classic bonnet and by the generous surfaces including the covered wheels. "Powerful bodywork pillars, distinctive wheelhouses and short overhangs give SEDRIC an impressively robust appearance as the epitome of safety and trustworthiness," explained Michael Mauer, Head of Design at the Volkswagen Group. "The headlamps provide a design feature and take on the function of eyes. They make visual contact with people in the immediate surroundings and interact with them." The portal-style doors are inviting, the lounge atmosphere in the interior without a steering wheel and pedals provides all the occupants with enjoyable mobility and an unrestricted view through large window areas and a varied infotainment programme.
The latest version of SEDRIC creates the bridge between the universal mobility concept of tomorrow and the emotional world of the today's automobile. "The paintwork in the colour Anthracite Silk Gloss creates a warm, high-tech impression for the exterior. The vertical stripes and numbering provide a subtle indication of the opportunities available for individualisation," continued Mauer. Right from the start, SEDRIC has been designed for shared mobility in the urban environment. However, individual configuration also meets the requirements as a vehicle for owned mobility. The technological basis of the Modular Electrification Building box (MEB) from the Volkswagen Group offers scope to design brand-specific features for mobility of the future.
Ideas platform for continuous progress with future technologies
The Volkswagen Group is demonstrating through SEDRIC its leading competence in the key technological fields for mobility of the future: autonomous driving, electrification and digital networking. "In these areas, SEDRIC is a cross brand ideas platform for continuous technological developments that allow us to deliver answers to important issues for society in the key areas of environmental protection, demographic change, business and traffic safety," said Ulrich Eichhorn, Head of Research and Development at the Volkswagen Group.
The central development areas include identification of the surrounding environment with cameras, 360-degree lidar sensors, long and short-distance radar and ultrasound sensors, a hardware and software architecture for data processing and vehicle control with a massive, powerful computer and intelligent software which replaces the person as a driver, and electrification of the drive. The context and needs-based control concept has also undergone advanced development using digital voice assistants, touchscreens and gesture control, alongside new digital services for personalisation of the mobility experience. "The plethora of experience and the technological expertise that we have gained through the advanced development of SEDRIC will benefit all brands and therefore also our customers," according to Eichhorn.