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The Self-Driving Volkswagen Vizzion Has No Steering Wheel

POR: Alex Perrone

volkswagen vission

Volkswagen is working hard to reestablish themselves as a leader in the auto industry in the wake of several lawsuits and scandals. And so in 2017 VW focused a lot on rolling out concepts for their new I.D. lineup. That meant showing off a new Microbus. This year in Geneva they introduced the next car in that proposed lineup:  the Vizzion. The Vizzion is a fully-self-driving, all-electric sedan with a super sleek design and get this: it uses no steering wheel or pedals.

VW Goes Electric – The Vizzion of the Future

Every car in the I.D. concept lineup is part of VW’s $82 billion effort to better if not fully electrify its lineup by 2030. The Vizzion itself is arguably the most ambitious concept the German automaker has ever undertaken. This project was a joint effort with several of Silicon Valley’s biggest names in the self driving vehicle tech research and development. And to think, the electrification push was borne out of VW’s “Dieselgate” scandal. That scandal has ended up costing cost VW $25 billion as a penalty for cheating diesel emissions tests.

Should the I.D. Vizzion make it to our roads it will have a top speed of 112 mph. That’s because utilizes a system of dual electric motors that work together in order to deliver 225 kW of power. The 111 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is said to contain 413 miles of juice on a single charge.

The I.D. Vizzion might just perfectly encapsulate the state of self driving vehicles and what automakers and tech companies want them to be. For instance, VW would prefer you not refer to yourself as the driver, seeing as you never actually drive. You are what VW calls a “vehicle guest.” With their technology a “digital chauffeur” AI is what actually drives the car. That way passengers are free to use their time inside how they wish.

Volkswagen’s Virtual Driver Faces Stiff Self-Driving Competition

Is the state of artificial intelligence there yet? It’s tough to tell but VW proposes a learning and adaptable system that saves and understands your personal preferences. This is because of what VW calls a “complete embedding into the digital eco-system (The Verge).” Keep in mind all of these wonderful things are mostly in the concept-only phase. However, the Vizzion might be a big indicator of where automakers hope they’ll get too soon. They envision autonomous cars used in cities for public transportation or ride-hailing apps. These announcements come hot on the heels of Google’s self-driving car entity Waymo (they are currently testing in Phoenix area) and General Motors’ Cruise Automation (set to begin testing driverless Bolts in 2019).

While Waymo and Cruise’s cars are notable the Vizzion is arguably the most ambitious take on a self driving car to date. And some of its most radical design choices, such as no steering wheel or pedals, actually make sense. The car size and power is ahead of anything Tesla currently offers too.

Regardless, VW really is placing a lot of bets on electric cars over the next decade. Now we know that the I.D. Vizzion — along with the entire I.D. lineup — is set to be at the very center of that push. There’s now a very strong possibility VW will eventually have fully autonomous fleet on our roads in our lifetime.

We talk a lot about autonomous automobiles here on ShopTalk, what are your thoughts on them? Do you think they are a much-needed convenience or an untested nuisance? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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