Volk­swa­gen Group Sedric

Lat­est tech show­cased

Auto Car (UK) - - THIS WEEK - JIM HOLDER

The Volk­swa­gen Group’s self-driv­ing Sedric con­cept car fea­tures sev­eral tech­nolo­gies that will make pro­duc­tion on a raft of ve­hi­cles in around 10 years’ time, ac­cord­ing to the firm’s head of R&D, Ul­rich Ei­chorn.

Sedric — which is an acro­nym for Self-driv­ing Car — is the first con­cept car to be made on a group level and pre­views a high-tech vi­sion for the fu­ture of in­di­vid­ual mo­bil­ity.

The Volk­swa­gen Group de­scribes the Sedric as the “fa­ther of nu­mer­ous con­cepts” al­ready un­der de­vel­op­ment, but CEO Matthias Müller stressed that the firm will never make a car un­der the group name. In­stead, he said, the tech­nol­ogy on the Sedric was ap­pli­ca­ble to all group brands, which in­clude Audi, Bent­ley, Bu­gatti, Seat, Skoda and VW.

Ei­chorn added: “We have been work­ing on con­cepts like this for at least 20 years, but it is only now that the tech­nol­ogy ex­ists to start pulling it to­gether. We have the MEB elec­tric car plat­form that gives us the space and ar­chi­tec­ture re­quired. We have 3D map­ping that al­lows us to nav­i­gate at least as well as a hu­man, and so on.

“Sedric shows that the tech­nol­ogy can be­come a re­al­ity. We won’t build the car you see here, but a lot of the things you see on the car will make it to pro­duc­tion.”

The Sedric is lit­tle big­ger than the foot­print of a VW Up, but be­cause there is no com­bus­tion en­gine or con­trol func­tions be­yond three but­tons — Go, Stop and Call for as­sis­tance — there is room for four adults to sit fac­ing each other in a lounge-like in­te­rior.

The Sedric has speech-con­trolled propul­sion via an elec­tric mo­tor sited within the rear axle. It de­liv­ers around 134bhp and draws on a lithium ion bat­tery pack mounted within the flat floor. This pro­vides a claimed range of around 250 miles.

Show­cas­ing its po­ten­tial ben­e­fits for peo­ple with im­paired vi­sion, the Sedric was un­veiled with a mo­bil­ity con­troller, dubbed Oneb­ut­ton. With one press, the con­troller hails the Sedric, dis­play­ing its ar­rival time with coloured alerts and a vi­bra­tion sig­nal.

The Sedric was also con­ceived to dove­tail with the Volk­swa­gen Group’s re­cent in­vest­ment in the mo­bil­ity ser­vice provider Gett and its own in-house mo­bil­ity ser­vice provider, Moia.

Ei­chorn be­lieves cars like this will initially find favour in con­trolled en­vi­ron­ments such as fac­to­ries and car parks, then with peo­ple look­ing to car share, and fi­nally as pri­vately owned cars. “There will be an evo­lu­tion­ary process to us­age,” he said.

Many of the fea­tures used by the Sedric will make pro­duc­tion

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