The future of fully autonomous mobility will start by 2021 according to Volkswagen.
Automakers have different predictions as to when fully autonomous cars without traditional pedals or steering wheels will start roaming the streets. While Volkswagen has been showing off its I.D. concepts previewing the brand’s upcoming electrified cars, the Sedric offered a glimpse at a future family of VWs featuring full Level 5 autonomy when it was first shown at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Alongside the near-production ready Crozz, VW showcased an updated version of the Sedric at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
At the show, the automaker outlined plans to launch the Sedric as a fully autonomous ride-sharing city car as early as 2021. Automotive News reports that the Sedric is just the start of a new family of autonomous vehicles that will include fully autonomous Level 5 electric cars, vans, trucks, and even a driverless sports car. Our team is already working on ideas for a whole Sedric family of fully autonomous vehicles for the city, for luxurious long-range mobility, through self-driving delivery vans and heavy commercial trucks," said VW’s CEO Matthias Mueller. The first of these will be the Sedric (standing for "self-driving car”) which can transport four people.
It’s designed to appear less intimidating to help reduce the public’s fears of trusting an autonomous car with no pedals or steering wheel. Powerful body pillars, pronounced wheel houses and short overhangs give the car a robust look that signifies safety, while portal-style doors open to reveal an inviting, living room-style interior with a windshield that doubles as an OLED display. Testing is said to start soon at Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, where the vehicle will be used to ferry employees around the factory. Later down the line, Volkswagen plans to launch fleets of fully autonomous ride-sharing vehicles that can drive themselves to any address in two to five cities worldwide by 2021.
The public will then be able to hail these vehicles through Moia and Gett mobility services, which are affiliated with VW. Audi also revealed its vision for future Level 5 car autonomy at Frankfurt with the Aicon Concept. While the Sedric is primarily designed for ride-sharing with families or as a ride-hailing service for the public, the Aicon is a personal vehicle with a more familiar design resembling a performance sports car rather than a futuristic pod.