Volkswagen has confirmed plans to put a futuristic, battery-powered autonomous shuttle into production as part of its new “Roadmap E” push into the electric and self-driving vehicles.
The Sedric – the name a mash-up of SElf-DRIving Car – was unveiled as a VW Group concept last year and is now being handed off to one of its specific brands to be brought to fruition.
VW hasn’t revealed which one is getting it, but has updated Sedric as an on-demand urban school bus that students can summon via an app. It features sliding doors, center-facing seats and no steering wheel. A collection of sensors are located around the vehicle, most prominently on four antenna-like stalks sticking out from the roof. VW's designers preemptively added graffiti like design on the body and stickers inside.
It’s part of a more than $40 billion investment VW Group is making to electrify and bring autonomy to its fleet and start building zero-emissions vehicles at 16 factories around the world by 2022, including a Microbus-inspired electric minivan that will replace the Beetle as the automaker’s heritage model.
VW hasn’t said exactly when Sedric would enter production, but did say it would be followed by tour buses, trucks and even sports cars equipped with the self-driving technology. The company's Moia division is currently expanding a ridesharing shuttle system where it could potentially find a home.