Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

Volkswagen unveils AI-powered driverless concept vehicle

Volkswagen unveils AI-powered driverless concept vehicle

VIZZION concept vehicle - the new flagship of the electric I.D. Family.

Although the new concept auto on display in Geneva goes without a steering wheel, the new sedan is planned to be launched with a more conventional control layout similar to that of other first-generation I.D. models.

Despite the sci-fi connotations, Volkswagen is adamant that the I.D Vizzion is a realistic concept.

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The exterior of the I.D. Vizzion concept sits at 203.3 inches long, 76.7 inches wide, and 59.3 inches tall (5.16 x 1.95 x 1.5 m).

The I.D. Vizzion is based on the new MEB (modular electrification toolkit) chassis and uses the drive system components of the All-New Electric Architecture - two motors, two gearboxes, the electronics that link everything together and high-voltage battery. Energy is stored in a flat 111kWh lithium-ion battery lining the vehicle floor. VW says it will have a range of 413 miles on the European cycle. The vehicle gets sleek LED headlamps, while there is a sleek LED strip horizontally connecting the headlamps. Also, the best way to charge the I.D. Vizzion is over an inductive interface, however conventional charging via plug-in is also possible. Once the vehicle recognizes one of its passengers via an electronic key or facial scan, white, animated light axis flows from the front to the sides of the body all the way to the rear, and the doors open. Materials used inside include vegetable-tanned leather and natural, untreated woods from sustainable cultivation. A full-length panoramic glass roof encloses it from above. It's equipped with a phalanx of sensors - laser scanners, ultrasonic sensors, radar sensors front and rear and cameras with a 360-degree view of the area surrounding the vehicle. Traffic data is handled via cloud computing, while car-to-car communication is another vital tech advance needed for the system to operate smoothly.

The Vizzion is clearly a very futuristic concept in that VW is aiming for the 2030 model year. The marque estimates that a setup like this could be a reality on the road by 2025.

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In any case, the lack of a steering wheel and other controls is largely in the interest of creating greater personal space. There are only two real controls - a pair of rotary/push buttons, one located at the front, one intended for passengers in the rear.

The Vizzion will have a complicated artificial intelligence system that learns about new situations on the fly. Volkswagen also indicated that passengers can control scents that are pumped through the car's interior. Gesture control features too, and teams up with augmented reality (AR) technology. The headlamp design is similar to the I.D. Crozz. Wearing the headset enables those on board to work, with email and conference call projections, or for straightforward entertainment.

Central to its interior concept is a "virtual assistant" of sorts that uses artificial intelligence to recognise the needs and tastes of its occupants, such as climate and music preferences, and activates the correct settings for the situation.

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