Test Drive > Volkswagen's new concept car features a ‘digital chauffeur' instead of a steering wheel

Volkswagen's new concept car features a ‘digital chauffeur' instead of a steering wheel

 - 21/02/2018

Volkswagen is going full steam ahead with its electric vehicle campaign, preparing to unveil the fourth addition to its I.D. family at the Geneva Motor Show. But this time there's no steering wheel.

For most of us, the future of driving means environmentally friendly cars, therefore electric and hybrid vehicles, right? Dream a little more and we probably start imagining a fully connected car with a built-in butler... maybe we won't even have to drive?

Well, it looks like Volkswagen's ‘vision' for the future -- a long sleek sedan, a concept appropriately named I.D. Vizzion -- reflects this view of a clean, safe and comfortable car.

With no way for a driver to manually steer, this is an autonomously driving automobile that could essentially chauffeur customers unable to drive themselves, for example because of their age. 

Accompanying the “digital chauffeur” on the journey would be the “virtual host”, in other words, an in-car assistant that responds to voice commands and gestures, remembering different “vehicle guest” preferences, such as temperature settings or seat position. This is all made possible “thanks to complete embedding into the digital ecosystem,” explains Volkswagen in an announcement made this week.

Debuting at this year's Geneva Motor Show (March 8 - March 18), the I.D. Vizzion concept is a 5-meter long premium glass MPV with an electric drive system, designed to travel at up to 180km/h. Equipped with 111 kWh lithium-ion batteries, the concept is designed to drive up to 665 kilometers (413 miles) when braking regeneration is factored in.

These specs are similar to those of the previous three models demonstrated by the brand -- the original I.D, the I.D. Crozz and Buzz -- meaning the series will be reasonably fast and powerful, however this may not even feel relevant in the future when ‘vehicle guests' (as VW describes them) can optimize how they use their time during commutes.

Volkswagen describes the I.D. Vizzion as the “technological backbone of future Volkswagen electric vehicles," enabling "long driving ranges and maximum space utilization at optimal costs.”

Volkswagen has plans to introduce more than 20 electric vehicle models by 2025 and will roll out a compact electric I.D.2 in 2020, followed by the electric I.D. CROZZ3 SUV and an MPV in the I.D. BUZZ4.


Photo : © Volkswagen