The big auto shows are an opportunity for automakers to show off their latest offerings. They’re where we get debuts of new models and sneak peeks at concept cars that show the future of automotive design and technology. Volkswagen took this year’s Geneva Motor Show as an opportunity to showcase the Sedric. It’s a fully autonomous concept car that looks a lot like an angry bug.
The angry little car has the typically space age design of something that’s more of an idea, a glimmer in some designer’s eye, rather than a production vehicle. Outside, it looks like a box without any real character, except for a few details up front that give the thing a weird face.
It starts to make more sense when you read through the press release, which refers to Sedric as the “Father” of concepts that will be arriving from the rest of Volkswagen Group. These new concepts will be Sedric’s “children” and “grandchildren.” Nope, not creepy at all.
Though the outside is odd, once the double sliding doors open to reveal the inside, we get a car that makes a lot of sense. Since the idea behind the Sedric is that it will be fully autonomous and require no human intervention, it looks nothing like the cars we drive today.
There are two seats at either end of the car so people can talk as though they’re sitting on a couple of couches in their living rooms. No need for a steering wheel or pedals. Sedric does all the work and passengers simply talk to the car and tell it where they want to go next. They can ask for updates about the trip and even request a break.
Access to the Sedric is also unique. There’s no key fob in the traditional sense. Instead there’s the Button. It looks like a USB stick with a single button that you press to call the car. Once pressed, the Button shows the car’s arrival time. It also lights up and vibrates to let you know when it arrives.
Further differentiating the Button from the usual key is that it might not call your car, but rather any available Sedric. Volkswagen sees it as a shared mobility vehicle that will be part of a fleet, although making one that is individually owned is still possible. Pressing the Button will let the network of Sedric’s know you need a ride and send the nearest available vehicle to your door.
Since this is a concept, it’s not something you’re going to see at your local dealership. Instead, it’s a glimpse of our autonomous future with a very different Volkswagen bug.