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 important sales market of China will play a key role in the mobility strategy of the future for the Volkswagen Group. The Concept Car Sedric is a central component of the integrated mobility solution. In conjunction with its equally innovative control system, Sedric is giving entirely new meaning to the concept of autonomous driving. The touch of a button suffices. And the self-driving automobile comes along and takes its passengers conveniently and safely to their destination.
On the evening before Auto Shanghai, Matthias Müller, Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen Group commented: "We are going to strengthen cooperation with our existing partners and also establish new partnerships. We want to use these collaborations to structure a new mobile era and create a sustainable mobility world for our millions of Chinese customers. Over the coming years, Volkswagen will become even more Chinese."
Design, development, production and marketing of automobiles continue to play a key role in the future strategy of the Volkswagen Group. Smart mobility solutions are being established with the same focus as another division of the Group and its brands. The investment in the mobility service provider Gett, the establishment of the mobility service provider MOIA, and the joint venture with Mobvoi are important steps on this roadmap. Mobvoi is Chinese start-up which specializes in voice interaction technologies and AI algorithms. The Volkswagen Group and Mobvoi want to develop new mobility concepts and products for vehicle applications and personal digital assistants on the basis of artificial intelligence. "This partnership is a special example of the resolve of Volkswagen to cooperate with innovative Chinese tech companies like Mobvoi in order to create new forms of personal mobility technology," commented Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann, Member of the Board and President and CEO of Volkswagen Group China.
The biggest process of change in the history of the Volkswagen Group was launched with the future program "Together – Strategy 2025". This Group strategy paves the way for one of the world's best automobile manufacturers to become one of the leading global providers of sustainable mobility. The transformation of the core business and the new Mobility Solutions Divisions are the foundation for the growth of tomorrow.
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. And 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.
The first Concept Car of the Group
Sedric is the first Concept Car from the Volkswagen Group. And it 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.
"At the Volkswagen Group, we want to play a leading role in driving forward the transformation into a new era. We want to structure this process and we are therefore also increasing the pace of development and intensifying investments in these important innovative fields of digitalization and autonomy. We have also created a new structure within our organization to achieve this. This will empower the Volkswagen Group to advance from being an automotive manufacturer to become a leading mobility provider. Our vision is to become a leading provider of sustainable mobility by the year 2025," commented Dr. Ulrich Eichhorn, Head of Research and Development, Volkswagen Group.
The 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 Volkswagen OneButton 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 up of a button to press and a ring which indicates Sedric's arrival time with colored signals and a vibration signal that guides a person with impaired vision to the car.
A friend and companion for the family
The innovative control element functions as a universal mobility ID operating worldwide with integrated mobile receiver, GPS and compass to locate the vehicle. 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 could be 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.
"Everybody will be included in the new world of mobility. We will offer accessibility for everyone. Our mobility solution will transport these people conveniently and without hassle from door to door – with the implementation of our new vision: mobility for all, at the touch of a button or a speech command. This will give people more freedom, an amazing level of comfort and a much higher quality of life. Individual mobility will make it easier for many people to participate in community life," explained Johann Jungwirth, Chief Digital Officer of the Volkswagen Group.
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 Volkswagen OneButton – 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.
Talks like an assistant
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 and 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 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 freer we become as a result of the new technologies, the better and more consistently we will be able to adapt vehicles to the individual lifestyles and personal aspirations of individuals. We will not have uniform autonomous vehicles – quite the contrary. The scene on the roads and cityscapes of the future will become even more varied, even more colorful, even more emotional," commented Michael Mauer, Head of Design Volkswagen Group.
The welcome home feeling
The key difference to all other present-day automobiles is immediately tangible in the interior. Sedric has the Self-Driving System as 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.
New intelligence and new efficiency
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.
Additional press material is available at: www.discover-SEDRIC.com