VW makes drivers superfluous with Robotaxi Sedric


There is no steering wheel or pedals in the VW Sedric

Here comes the robot car from Volkswagen

The manufacturer Volkswagen, which was hit by the diesel scandal, is doing a lot of work on its image: The Wolfsburg-based future concept is called "Sedric" and can even be driven by children without any problems. Source: N24


With the Sedric, Volkswagen wants to turn the horsepower industry upside down. The glass case drives electrically and autonomously. But the mobility scenario doesn’t work completely without people either.

M.Or rather than pushing a button, Johann Jungwirth doesn’t have to press his plastic key, Sedric arrives and brings the man who wants to lead digitization in the VW Group to the desired destination. Sedric is not just any car. Sedric is the first research vehicle from Wolfsburg that is designed exclusively for autonomous driving.

Without a steering wheel and pedals and without any other control elements, the Robotaxi – the name is an acronym for “self driving car” – is becoming the centerpiece of a new mobility vision designed to prevent or at least delay the collapse of traffic.

One immediately thinks of David Hasselhoff alias Michael Knight, who in the television series "Knight Rider" from his clever car K.I.T.T. picked up and chauffeured. Sedric can do all of that too. And just like Michael Knight with his converted Pontiac Firebird, the VW manager can talk to the Robotaxi as if from person to person. Or he uses the app on his smartphone, on which he sees a swarm of Sedrics and manages his trips like today with Uber or car2go.

Basically, VW got the idea of ​​Google-Cars adopted and developed. Ford is also working on a similar project: The Americans have not yet shown a car, but have already set a tight time frame and a test fleet with thousands of autonomous vehicles announced for 2021.

VW makes drivers superfluous with Robotaxi Sedric-sedric

Sedric, well "self driving car", is the name of the study, which looks a bit like a shrunken comic subway car with a cozy lounge, not only because of its two sliding doorse interior looks

Source: Volkswagen

If you ask Jungwirth about times and numbers, he gets vague: Then he speaks cautiously of "the first half of the next decade" and of "as many cars as possible". But he probably knows best himself that he doesn’t just need the blessings of politicians and a few new laws to do this.

He knows that he has to drill a couple of thick boards in his own ranks to do this. Because as enthusiastic as Jungwirth is and as good as CEO Matthias Muller at the premiere at the Geneva Motor Show, fingers crossed during the seat rehearsal, there will also be enough decision-makers in the company who consider a car like Sedric to be a toy in the best case and a pipe dream in the worst case.

Especially when Jungwirth speaks of a platform in which all brands should use and participate. VW and Audi as well as Bentley or Lamborghini.

There is no steering wheel or pedals in the VW Sedric

Technically, the rolling glass box is nothing more than one of 30 electric cars that the VW Group plans to develop from the modular electrical construction kit (MEB) over the next few years – with a battery for a range of around 400 kilometers in the vehicle floor and an electric motor of around 100 kW on the rear axle.

They even use the sensor antlers on the roof of the study, the lasers in the front and rear, the radar scanners and half a dozen cameras in Wolfsburg or at the group subsidiaries for a number of autonomous prototypes. And if the new Audi A8 2018 actually drives autonomously on the autobahn and the driver can permanently take his eyes off the road, he will need very similar sensors.

And yet there is a big difference: while the driver in the next A8 still has to be able to intervene at any time and take full control, the passengers in the Robotaxi no longer have the opportunity to do so. Because the steering wheel and pedals don’t just fold away like in other studies, they are no longer on board. Sedric has to find his way around traffic completely by himself and make all decisions independently.

VW makes drivers superfluous with Robotaxi Sedric-superfluous

The VW study is an outlook for a somewhat more distant future for automobiles. Driverless taxis like Sedric won’t be able to drive us through the big city for ten or twelve years from now

Source: Volkswagen

But a lot of technology also means high costs. Research chief Ulrich Eichhorn has to push it so far that anyone can even afford a vehicle like Sedric – regardless of whether it is a fleet operator or a private customer. Because even if a compact electric car times as much as a well-equipped Golf, a rolling supercomputer like Sedric will probably not be available for less than Passat prices, and maybe even significantly higher.

Michael Mauer probably had the hardest task in the development of the autonomous robotic taxi. He’s not just a chief designer from Porsche, he is also responsible for the design in the entire VW Group. At Sedric he had to learn how difficult it is to draw a simple car.

With its portal doors, the VW Sedric is reminiscent of a bus

Although it is nothing more than a cuboid on wheels, it couldn’t look like a simple box. That is why Mauer gave the car a very slight wedge shape, cut a kind of face into the plastic and covered the wheels in such a way that Sedric looks like a spaceship that hovers rather than drives.

And although the interior, with the two fabric armchairs on one side and the two folding seats on the other, doesn’t have more furnishings than a London taxi, Sedric had to fit in with the Group’s values. Hence the cork embedded in the floor, the elegant upholstery on the seats and the partially transparent screen that turns the windshield into an infotainment display.

However, Sedric doesn’t look like a car, especially with its portal doors, it looks more like a bus. That may also have been a reason why VW only launched its Robotaxi briefly at the start of the Geneva Salon and brought it back to Wolfsburg shortly afterwards.

VW makes drivers superfluous with Robotaxi Sedric-superfluous

The interior is as spacious as a London taxi – only more elegant and, above all, without a taxi driver

Source: Volkswagen

The second reason is the audience. The show in Geneva is the opposite of a commercial vehicle fair; nowhere else is there so much hedonism on wheels. A vehicle that forces the driver to inactivity doesn’t really fit in there. But it will probably also not be normal private customers who buy a car like Sedric.

If VW wants to start producing thousands of vehicles in four to six years, i.e. between 2021 and 2027, it will more likely be mobility service providers who put Sedric on the road, transport associations, cities and municipalities or maybe even VW itself.

Jungwirth and Eichhorn also see a market for private individuals who buy Sedric as a second or third car. It could be tempting not to have to take the children to school every morning or to have a carefree beer with colleagues after work and still not have to get into a taxi.

"In the best case scenario, the car finances itself"

To make the switch a little easier for potential buyers and to take away their fear of the higher costs, VW even wants to offer refinancing. So that Sedric does not stand around useless during work or school hours, the Lower Saxony organize the rental in the Freundeskreis or temporarily take the Robotaxi into their car sharing-Fleet and pay a corresponding fee for it: "In the end, this is how the car finances itself in the best of cases," says Jungwirth, outlining the scenario.

The top digitizer in Wolfsburg admits that it will take a while before the developers, the legislature, and indeed society as a whole are ready for Sedric to have a chance. But the first big cities will soon open to robotic taxis, the expert is convinced of that. He hopes this won’t just be in Silicon Valley or in Singapore, but that people in Germany embark on the adventure of autonomous city traffic.

"Will invest in autonomous driving and artificial intelligence"

Volkswagen presented a concept vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show. In the future, the group wants to concentrate more on autonomous driving and artificial intelligence. VW boss Matthias Muller in an interview. Source: N24

VW visionary Johann Jungwirth already has the key in his hand – you don’t need much more for the Sedric. Even if you sit in it, the two buttons labeled “Go” and “Stop” in the center armrest are enough to move forward.

The digital expert allowed himself to be persuaded to use a third button and built in a "Call" button. Jungwirth admits that anyone who presses the button is not talking to a computer, but to a mobility center where people take care of the passengers’ concerns. "Because in a fully automated world full of autonomous cars, it is very good if it continues to be a little human."

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11 thoughts on “VW makes drivers superfluous with Robotaxi Sedric”

  1. I find the comments interesting. There are still people who believe that Germany is the center of automobile manufacturing. If you’re the world’s largest automobile manufacturer, it’s certainly not because you sell so many cars in Europe or Germany. VW has to offer electric cars in Asia, especially in China. In some cities in China it is already quite normal to rent a bike that a previous renter has parked nearby. This is what will happen to this car too. In addition, not everyone wants to squeeze into the cramped, at some times of the year intensely smelling local means of transport.
    So if the main car market is not Germany, who then believes that such large companies want to manufacture niche products in small numbers for the European market in the future, or that they can afford such a double development?!!
    In addition, the car is no longer as important to young people in metropolitan areas as it was in earlier years. It may well be different with the rural population. Only, the trend worldwide is towards metropolitan areas.

  2. That’s the way it is. But ole car freaks can’t let go. They drive around the corner to Aldi with their toys. You don’t care if you ride around in circles countless times looking for a parking space and pollute the air. &# 129300;

  3. That’s terrible. What is Mr Broder going to do with it? Neither steering wheel nor pedals, and also electric. That will electrify him. We will probably find out about it in the next essay in the same place.&# 128526;

  4. Fully automatic cars? Perhaps a niche solution for less frequented traffic connections, but not a solution to the traffic problems in our cities! Then it would be better to expand local public transport, which already uses electricity to some extent. That would be much more environmentally friendly. And when the first few million charging stations for e-cars hit our streets "adorn", one will certainly think again.
    In a country in which only a small minority of motorists choose even an automatic gearshift, fully automated cars are unlikely to be popular in the future either.

  5. A great solution when looking for a problem. Such a car is only useful for certain situations. But then there are taxis or shuttle transport with chauffeurs. We have enough people on this planet who can drive.
    But here comes the fundamental problem with such moving robots: They cannot improvise. By definition, compliance with traffic rules must be programmed into them. How fast do you get ahead with it in the big city? How taxi drivers deal with this problem should be known.

  6. If everyone obeys the rules, everyone can make rapid progress. Above all, connected traffic can largely prevent traffic jams.
    In the end, everyone arrives faster. Except maybe the taxi driver who is currently looking for a minimal time advantage at the expense of others.

  7. At least in urban areas, that’s the future. We’ll see whether it will take another 10.15 or 20 years, but it will come and change mobility quite a bit.

  8. Always these future objects of the VW Group! They can’t even get their timing chains, DSG gears, gas tanks and much more under control, have used fraudulent software for their brands for years and constantly launch new plans that never go into production. Now they are still advertising with nursery rhymes. More stupid things are always possible at VW / Audi etc. Since they neither keep their guarantee promises nor do they give goodwill, I wonder why so many people still buy the junk.

  9. Great … a moving dog that you can get into. The main thing is that he brings the master back home.
    If this is to be the auto-mantle future, we would have been better off operating in the Stone Age.

  10. Something like that was announced 40 years ago and what happened to it, I will definitely not see it again.


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