Volkswagen has presented its first full take on autonomous driving at the Geneva Motor Show. The automaker says the Sedric (self-driving car) is very much a cross-brand ideas platform, presenting ideas of what the mobility of the future could shape up to be like.
Designed and developed in cooperation with VW’s Future Center Europe facility in Potsdam and Volkswagen Group Research in Wolfsburg, the Sedric has been built to level 5 standards of autonomous driving, in which a human driver or intervention is no longer required.
The boxy shape features two-part swing doors which offer large apertures for occupants to enter and alight from the vehicle comfortably and with ease. Inside, a generously proportioned interior reveals no steering wheel or pedals, essentially making the Sedric a comfortable lounge on wheels.
The vehicle seats four in a 2+2 layout, with the two rear seats acting as a comfortable couch. This living room presentation is aided with the use of carefully selected materials such as the birch leather chosen as the upholstery material on large surfaces and air-purifying plants positioned in front of the rear windscreen.
To further enhance the sense of space, large window surfaces present a higher level of contact with the outside world, and the windscreen doesn’t just allow occupants to look out of the car. Made up of a large, high-resolution transparent OLED screen with augmented reality, the screen also doubles up as the communication and entertainment centre display.
Interior space maximisation is accomplished by tucking away as much of the mechanicals as possible. The car’s battery pack is flat and has been configured between the axles, and the compact electric motor is located at wheel level, while the air-conditioning and electronic intelligence controls of the self-driving system are positioned in the compact overhangs at the front and rear.
Vehicle operation is accomplished via a control called the Button, which becomes the link between the user and Sedric. A single touch of the button calls up the car, and lights up with coloured signals and vibration feedback to announce that Sedric has arrived and is ready for the journey.
It’s not entirely passive, because once in the vehicle, passengers can talk to Sedric about the destination, how to get there and find out the driving time or the current traffic situation just as they would with a personal assistant.