Advances in self-driving technology could mean radical changes in what we think of as a car. Volkswagen explores one potential future with its Sedric concept, unveiled at the Geneva auto show.
Volkswagen describes the Sedric as a "comfortable lounge on wheels" that you can summon with the touch of a button.
The boxy Sedric seems designed around the interior, creating a space for people to ride and carry luggage or cargo. It features two full-size seats facing front and two jump seats facing the rear that can be folded out of the way. Volkswagen describes the Sedric as having a flat battery pack in the floor and an electric drive motor to turn the wheels. Self-driving sensors and computer live in the overhangs to the front and rear of the wheels.
The Sedric follows a theme of automakers attempting to understand and design for a new car culture built more around transportation than driving, At this year's CES in January, Honda and Chrysler both presented similarly self-driving boxy concepts, designed more for interior practicality than emotional driving. Other automakers are similarly considering how people may pay fees to use cars, but not actually own them.
Volkswagen says Sedric owners would push what it calls the Button, possibly on an app, which would then display the time that the car will arrive. Once inside, Sedric "drivers" will be able to use advanced voice commands to tell the car where they want to go, and what they want to do while in transit. Volkswagen conceives the Sedric's windshield as an OLED screen that can either show riders entertainment and communications or turn transparent to show the world outside, and use augmented reality to highlight areas of interest.
The Sedric, though a concept car from the Volkswagen Group, the corporate entity that operates brands such as Audi, Bentley and, of course, Volkswagen, does not wear a Volkswagen badge. The concept suggests what Volkswagen could put on the streets as an urban transportation service.