As we recently reported, virtually all automakers are currently working on some form of driverless ride-sharing/taxi services. Whether it’s through investments in existing services, like GM with its acquisition and investment in Cruise Automation and Lyft respectively, or through direct development like Tesla with its Autopilot and ‘Tesla Network‘ programs.
Renault and Nissan recently unveiled their own effort and now it’s time for Volkswagen to step in with a new concept called “Sedric”.
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Sedric is an all-electric and fully autonomous vehicle aimed at the shuttle/taxi industry.
Interestingly, the vehicle is described as “the first Concept Car of the Volkswagen Group and cross-brand ideas platform” – meaning that it doesn’t come from one of Volkswagen specific brand (VW, Audi, Porsche, etc.), but it instead features the Volkswagen Group logo.
The German automaker’s brands have been collaborating when it comes to electric vehicles, like with charging, and with autonomous driving technologies.
Volkswagen writes about Sedric:
“The Concept Car Sedric is a central component of this 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.”
CEO Matthias Müller unveiled the vehicle on the eve of the 87th Geneva International Motor Show today:
Müller said about the new concept:
“We are convinced that fully-automated vehicles will make life in our cities better, more eco-friendly and above all safer. Sedric gives the first concrete foretaste of that today. Sedric is a trailblazer and idea platform for autonomous driving. Many elements and functions of this concept car will reappear in vehicles from our brands in the coming years”,
It’s still very much a concept. The CEO made references to the group’s plans to build 2 to 3 million all-electric cars a year and unveil 30 new models by 2025, but it’s not clear if Sedric would be part of that beyond showcasing some of VW’s technology.
VW has been aiming to introduce fully autonomous driving systems around 2020 with vehicles based on its series of “I.D. Concepts” and other Volkswagen brands have been talking about similar timelines for level 5 autonomy.
But the Sedric concept seems to showcase something from much further down the road: