The Sedric also explores how the car will exist in a shared economy, being conceived to be used within a sharing platform for use by multiple users. It is credited to a trio of high-ranking Volkswagen Group officials: Michael Mauer, head of design; Johann Jungwirth, chief digital officer and Ulrich Eichhorn, head of research and development.
Conceived to dovetail with the Volkswagen Group’s recent investment in the mobility service provider Gett and the establishment of its own in-house mobility service provider Moia, the Sedric brings together future mobility ideas being pursued throughout the Volkswagen Group in a compact concept that does away with traditional proportioning and interior design, including features such as a steering wheel and pedals.
In their place is a smoothly surfaced one-box interior with a roomy four-seat, lounge-like interior. The Sedric has speech-controlled propulsion via an electric motor sited within the rear axle delivering around 134bhp and driven by a lithium ion battery pack mounted within the flat floor. This provides a claimed range of around 250 miles.
At the heart of the Sedric is a highly contemporary autonomous driving system that draws on Level 5 technology being developed by the Volkswagen Group for use on driverless cars planned for launch after 2020. It uses five individual lidar (light, image, detection and ranging scanner) devices mounted atop the Sedric’s roof in combination with seven cameras and various radar sensors.
Linking the new concept with its user is a so-called mobility controller, which Jungwirth describes as the key fob of the future, dubbed OneButton. With one press, the controller hails the Sedric, displaying its arrival time with coloured signals as well as a vibration signal designed specifically to guides a person with impaired vision to the car.
The Volkswagen Group describes its new mobility concept as the “father of numerous concepts” already under development, suggesting it will also get “children and grandchildren” within the Volkswagen Group's portfolio of brands, which includes Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Seat and Skoda.
Development of the Sedric took place at the Volkswagen Group’s Future Centre Europe in Potsdam, Germany following a greenlight to the program from the company’s chairman, Matthias Müller, in May 2016. It draws on mobility and propulsion ideas first presented by the Volkswagen Group at last year’s Geneva motor show.
Speaking at the Volkswagen Group's traditional pre-show event, Müller said: "Tge Sedric is a foretaste of automated vehicles at the highest stage of automation. The Sedric independently controls all driving functions, and it has been systematically developed to meet user’s needs. You talk it as you would to your personal assistant. All of the controls are voice controlled. And you choose whether the Sedric goes the fastest, eco-friendly or a scenic route. It drops you off at your location and then drives off to find a parking space or go to the next person in need of transportation.