After all the festivities celebrating National Drive Electric Week, the past week has been an exciting one for the auto world. And while some companies are still winding down, others are ramping up. Originally revealed at the Geneva auto show this year, Volkswagen has confirmed it is full speed ahead for their autonomous ride-hailing vehicle: Sedric. And those of us at Caliber Collison could not be more excited to see where this ride takes us.
These days, Volkswagen is setting its sights on the horizon and trying to envision the next decade of vehicles. And, like most other automakers, they’re zeroing in on autonomous cars as a major turning point for the road ahead. By 2021, in addition to Sedric, Volkswagen Group predicts that they will introduce a fleet of self-driving electric vehicles for ride-hailing services. These vehicles will also have the potential to partner with ridesharing companies, like Uber or Lyft.
According to the head of digitization strategy for VW Group, Johann Jungwirth, the first fleet of vehicles will arrive in up to five cities around the world for testing. The goal is to produce autonomous vehicles that support Level 5 autonomy, allowing them to navigate themselves to any address in that city. But if we already have autonomous vehicles, what makes Sedric so special?
Sedric was designed with users in mind by taking them out of the equation all together. It has no steering wheel, no pedals and no conventional cockpit controls or instruments. The idea was to make Sedric feel less like a vehicle, and more like a space. One that someone could get comfortable in on their journey. It’s far more spacious than most cars – definitely most taxis – and even features a mini garden designed to purify the air. Its operations are all based on voice commands: simply tell Sedric where to go and it will create the most efficient route. Or, if you have a preference, it can follow your directions. All in all, Sedric will be a fully-loaded, fully-electric, fully-autonomous wonder that we’re fully excited to see.
VW has big plans for electric and autonomous vehicles, not to mention the accompanying software and services. More than a year ago, while announcing their plans, they quoted American computer scientist Alan Kay: "People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.” And, based off what we’ve seen, they have every intention of following that advice to the letter.
Like Volkswagen, those of us at Caliber are always looking for new ways to stay ahead of the curve and remain at the forefront of our industry. New and exciting projects, like Sedric, are perfect examples of how the industry is changing for the better. And, in the unlikely event of an accident, who better to work on them than the best in collision repair.