The Brave Little Toaster grew into a self-driving concept

Volkswagen is launching a new initiative – create a world with self-driving vehicles that transport people in living room-like comfort, all without the need of a driver’s license, eyesight, or even the physical ability to drive. Leading the charge is the first concept car from Volkswagen Group. It’s named Sedric, which is short for self-driving car. VG says Sedric is the “father” of other autonomous concepts soon to come, each branded from different subsidiary brands under the VG umbrella. These “children” and “grandchildren” will build on Sedric’s foundation, eventually providing ride-sharing and private ownership experiences unlike anything known today.

Granted, this is a tall order for Volkswagen. There are a ton of moving parts that must be incorporated, not the least of which is the proliferation of the Internet of Things. Still, the new world previewed by Sedric is one of comfort and convenience, without the hassles inherent to driving. Think inner city commuting or the daily grind of chauffeuring kids to school, parents to work, and the insane scheduling that surrounds after-school activities. Sedric’s self-driving and autonomous nature alleviates the stress of transportation. Or so Volkswagen hopes.

Sedric’s overall design is one of originality. It doesn’t need to conform to the traditional configuration of a car or SUV. It has almost no overhangs beyond its wheels, it doesn’t waste interior space with driver controls, and it incorporated technology in nearly every aspect of its design. Its all-electric drivetrain offers clean, quite transportation, while requiring minimal space under the floor.

Now Volkswagen isn’t trying to kill the joy of driving. Rather, the automaker is trying to revolutionize personal transportation for busy families, older children, and senior citizens. The local Porsche dealership will still have go-fast fun machines ready to tackle the back roads and by-ways.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Sedric Concept.


2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The Volkswagen Sedric is certainly a fresh take on personal transportation. Its design favors an airport tram rather than a minivan – and that’s a good thing. Despite its apparent public transportation inspiration, the Sedric looks decidedly up-market and high-end. Every crease and corner are rounded, with accents of sharp angles in the headlights. Large windows make up a majority of real estate, providing unprecedented views all around.

Getting into the Sedric happens via large doors on either side, nestled between the wheels. Again with the airport tram theme, these dual doors allow for a wide entrance for people and their things.

2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Its design favors an airport tram rather than a minivan – and that’s a good thing.

Most car-like features are hidden with the Sedric, including the wheels and tires. The large, body-color panels both improve aerodynamics, while also providing a more cohesive appearance. In fact, the only elements protruding from the Sedric’s body are the LIDAR sensors mounted on the roof. Even the LED headlights are covertly and seamlessly incorporated into the front fascia.

Volkswagen did give the Sedric (or should we just call it Sedric?) some personality, though. Those headlights are capable of winking, making this toaster seem more personable. Functionally, the headlights also serve as turn signals and warning lights.

Overall, Sedric is a clean, high-tech piece of machinery that wouldn’t look out of place in a remake of Will Smith’s I, Robot. Let’s just hope the plot line doesn’t make the transition from concept to reality.


2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Like the outside, the interior hardly resembles anything normally associated with personal transportation. There is no steering wheel, pedals, or dashboard. Rather the rear features couch-like seating for two, while the front features rear-facing jump seats. These seats can be folded for increased room for storage or likely to accommodate a wheelchair.

2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The interior hardly resembles anything normally associated with personal transportation. There is no steering wheel, pedals, or dashboard.

Technology abounds in the modernistic cabin. Both front and rear glass panels serve as computer screens. These OLED displays are the interface for Sedric, offering readouts for navigation, voice command responses, and other items.

Volkswagen has incorporated upscale materials in the cabin, too, with wood floors, matching wood inserts in the doors, and leather coverings on the jump seats. The rear seats are covered in a trendy cloth material. Fresh air is provided by the HVAC system, along with air-purifying plants positioned in front of the rear window. The HVAC system also uses bamboo charcoal air filters.


2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Volkswagen revealed nothing about what powers the Sedric. It’s obvious the vehicle is fully electric, but there is no word on whether its AWD, what size its electric motors are, or how much range its batteries provide. We’d venture to be Volkswagen engineers are chasing that all-important 300-mile per charge range, if not more. That should be well beyond what anyone would travel in a day, especially in an urban environment.

Self-Driving Nature

2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Sedric has been designed from the ground up as a Level 5 autonomous vehicle. It’s designed to operate on its own, without human action. This means Sedric could drop you off at the airport and return home. It will find its own parking space at the grocery store. It will fetch the kids from school by itself. It will even transport a sleeping family towards grandmas house for Thanksgiving.

Of course, that’s for Sedrics that are personally owned. Volkswagen envisions a fleet of public use vehicles serving like Uber or Lyft. These vehicles would be hailed from a simplistic, one-button key fob. Volkswagen even calls it “The Button.” This UBS jump drive-like device then alerts the user of the Sedrics’ arrival. Hailing a ride-sharing dedicated Sedric would call the closest free Sedric, and likely one with enough charge to complete your pre-determined trip.

While Volkswagen does envision the expansion of ride sharing, it isn’t giving up on personal vehicle ownership. We definitely commend Volkswagen for that.


2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The Sedric is a giant leap forward in autonomous transportation and its overall usability. While Sedric is merely a concept at this point, it leads the way in Volkswagen’s development of future autonomous vehicles. It will be interesting to see what the future holds.

Sure, most driving enthusiasms recoil at the though of fleets of autonomous vehicles lifelessly pandering down a digitally mapped highway with computer precision, the act of actually driving a vehicle surely has several more decades of life left. Perhaps the roads will be even more fun, since texting teens, old ladies, and drunk party-goers will be safety coddled in their self-driving boxes. That leaves the roads open for us.

  • Leave it
    • No human driver, even if desired
    • Only seats four
    • Just a concpet at this point

Press Release

The Volkswagen Group redefines individual mobility. The company is the first automobile manufacturer to present an integrated mobility concept for mobility of the future in road traffic, including a Concept Car developed from scratch for autonomous driving. Sedric (self-driving car) provides a concrete insight into this innovative form of individual mobility that can be used by everyone, but which can nevertheless be geared to personal needs and aspirations – available at the touch of a button, easy, sustainable, convenient, and safe. The first Concept Car from the Volkswagen Group is a cross-brand ideas platform. The Volkswagen Group is using Sedric to highlight the major importance of fully automated driving in the future strategy of the company.

The Volkswagen Group has always democratized individual mobility in many countries of the world with its brands. The company will also make advanced technology and safety available for all with its new mobility concept. 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.

2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The strategy

Design, development, production and marketing of automobiles continue to play a key role in the future strategy of the Volkswagen Group. Smart mobility solutions are being established with the same focus as another division of the Group and its brands. The investment in the mobility service provider Gett and establishment of the mobility service provider MOIA are important steps on this roadmap.

The biggest process of change in the history of the Volkswagen Group was launched with the future program "Together – Strategy 2025". This Group strategy paves the way for one of the world’s best automobile manufacturers to become one of the leading global providers of sustainable mobility. The transformation of the core business and the new Mobility Solutions Divisions are the foundation for the growth of tomorrow.

In the future, fully automated vehicles will enrich the mobility experience of many people. A mobility concept based on intensively used vehicles will take up less space, will consume less energy, and will be safer and more sustainable at the same time. And the concept offers tailor-made mobility for everyone: adults and children, retirees and people with physical disabilities, city people who do not have their own car or a driving license, and visitors in a new city and suddenly decide they want to get from A to B in a convenient mobility setting.

2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The first Concept Car of the Group

Sedric is the first Concept Car from the Volkswagen Group. And it is the first vehicle in the group to have been created for level 5 of autonomous driving – in other words a person as a human driver is no longer required. Sedric was devised, designed, developed and constructed in cooperation with the Future Center Europe of the Volkswagen Group in Potsdam and Volkswagen Group Research in Wolfsburg.

Sedric is the pioneer, the ideas platform for autonomous driving in the Volkswagen Group. And it is the "Father" of numerous concepts for a new form of individual mobility. Soon Sedric will also get "children" and "grandchildren" with the Group’s various brands. They will be created in typical designs for the brands and will feature tailor-made and customer-specific characteristics for equipment.

2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The mobility experience

The idea of a simple form of individual mobility for everyone is linked to a universally usable vehicle and to an intuitive and easily understood control concept. The Button is the link between the user and Sedric. It is the key to a completely new mobility experience. This is because a single touch of the button guarantees mobility for everyone, at any time, and at any location. The control element is made of a button to press and a ring which indicates Sedric’s arrival time with colored signals and vibration signal that guides a person with impaired vision to the car.

2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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A friend and companion for the family

The innovative control element functions as a universal mobility ID operating worldwide. On business trips, or at a holiday resort – just like when they are at home – you just have to press a button and Sedric drives up as an autonomous shared mobility vehicle.

As a shared mobility vehicle Sedric is part of the fleet of the Volkswagen Group’s mobility service provider. But Sedric can equally well be an individually configured owned vehicle of one of the Volkswagen Group’s brands. Volkswagen is confident that many people will continue to want to own their own automobile in the future. After all, this new automobile is intelligent, it’s always available and the car even carries out functions independently. Sedric will drive the children to school and then take their parents to the office, look independently for a parking space, collects shopping that has been ordered, picks up a visitor from the station and a son from sports training – all at the touch of a button, with voice control or with a smartphone app – fully automatically, reliably and safely.

The user experience

The goals defined when developing Sedric were equally clearly defined as the entire mobility system: consistent reduction, very simple operation, completely intuitive handling. Just press the button – and Sedric comes along, precisely at the time indicated in advance. Sedric recognizes its user and the two-part door opens. The opening is wide and high, making it easy for passengers to get in even with luggage. There is plenty of room for bags and suitcases in the generously proportioned interior.

2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Talks like an assistant

When a passenger gets into the car, they can talk to Sedric. Passengers can talk to Sedric about the destination, how to get there, the driving time, the current traffic situation, perhaps even a short break on the way – users can talk to Sedric like they would with a personal assistant. While you are on the road, you can choose exactly what you want to do. The windscreen is a big OLED screen with augmented reality serves as a communication and entertainment center – but passengers can also close their eyes, sit back and relax.

The design experience

The language of design used to create Sedric is friendly and empathetic, and immediately generates spontaneous trust. Sedric conveys a robust character, safety and reliability within its muscular flanks and stable roof pillars. The two-part swing door extends up into the roof. The large opening allows passengers to enter and alight from the vehicle comfortably and with ease.
Sedric is a vehicle which will be moving around in cityscapes, in the suburbs and in the countryside. Its body concept offers compact dimensions with the opportunity to have a generously proportioned interior. Sedric has been designed without the classic proportions of an automobile and lacks elements like bonnet or shoulders.

The new engineering structure has made this monolithic, basic body possible. Sedric is a thoroughbred electric automobile. Its battery pack is flat and has been configured between the axles, and the compact electric motor is located at the level of the wheels. Systems like air-conditioning or the electronic intelligence of the self-driving system are positioned in the compact overhangs at the front and rear.

2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The welcome home feeling

The key difference to all other present-day automobiles is immediately tangible in the interior. Sedric does not have a driver. The steering wheel, pedals and cockpit are therefore superfluous. This permits a completely new sense of wellbeing in the vehicle – a welcome home feeling. Sedric is a comfortable lounge on wheels, equipped with carefully selected materials. One example of this is the birch leather used to upholster large surfaces. It is a haptic, natural material pleasant to the touch.

New intelligence and new efficiency

The 2+2 person design of the interior makes optimum use of the floor area of the vehicle. The two rear seats act as a very comfortable couch. Fresh air to breathe and a good air-conditioning system are ensured in a particularly ingenious design. Sedric really does have green technology on board: air-purifying plants positioned in front of the rear windscreen enhance the effect of generously dimensioned bamboo charcoal air filters.

Large window surfaces create contact with the outside world and even the large, high-resolution OLED screen is transparent and allows passengers to look out at the front.

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