Volkswagen details futuristic I.D. Vizzion Concept autonomous sedan in Geneva
As concept cars go, the Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion has all of the futuristic wow points in place. It's all-electric. It's autonomous. It's got artificial intelligence. It recognizes passengers through biometrics. And it was just unveiled in Geneva.
The VW I.D. Vizzion is a vision of what the upcoming I.D. family of advanced electric vehicles will look like. Volkswagen says that the I.D. vehicles will be long-range battery-electric sedans and crossovers for the year 2020 and beyond. The company plans to go to production with the I.D. Crozz crossover and I.D. Buzz microbus at about that time. The I.D. Vizzion will enter showrooms alongside those two models, though not necessarily in the form being shown at Geneva.
The I.D. Vizzion concept is meant to show what will likely be possible in a vehicle by the year 2030. Don't read that part out loud as it makes you feel like a narrator for a cheesy Buck Rogers episode. Instead, focus on the plans VW has for the Vizzion. It's a "digital chauffeur" which drives itself wherever you'd like to go. There is no steering wheel or other visible control in the car's cockpit. It is controlled entirely by gestures and voice commands. Think of it as combining a BMW with gesture control and a Google Home.
What's more, the car's "virtual host" recognizes passengers through biometric cues and adapts the car's interior settings to the individuals present. Interaction is made possible through augmented reality, a HoloLens headset and an artificial intelligence system capable of both piloting the car autonomously and catering to the needs of passengers.
Powering the I.D. Vizzion is a decidedly 21st-century powertrain with two electric motors (one on each axle) and a 111 kWh battery pack stuffed into the sedan's floor. The batteries are good for 413 miles (665 km) of driving on the European cycle. The motors themselves are muscular units, with 101 horsepower (75 kW) being placed on the front axle and 201 hp (150 kW) on the rear. A total power output of 302 horsepower (225 kW) in all-electric all-wheel drive is pretty impressive for a midsize sedan.
VW promises that both inductive (wireless) and conventional wired charging will be available on the Vizzion through a Combined Charging System, though no charging times have been revealed.
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). This makes for a low and wide appearing vehicle shaped as a conventional sedan with a defined hood, four-door passenger space, and rear deck.
The hood is shorter than might be expected, however, with a deeper curve downward into a stylized but otherwise non-functional grille. The lines along the car itself are more akin to a fastback than a standard sedan, bringing a sporty look to the vehicle with a hatchback-style rear opening. The doors on either side of the Vizzion open on opposing hinges, so that the rear door opens away from the front to give a pillar-less entryway into the cabin.
Inside the concept is a passenger area that VW sees as being a more open space, though laid out conventionally, with much of the windscreen being used as a head-up-style augmented reality screen for showing information and entertainment. The driver need only take over to control the vehicle when he or she wishes or the AI finds a situation so unusually unique that it requires some help.
That takeover, as mentioned, would be through gestures and voice commands rather than the usual wheel and pedals. The HoloLens acts as the interface for much of this, with several preset modes for various tasks or needs such as Business, Navigation, Entertain, Communication, and Learning modes. Each are geared towards a specific passenger task set, allowing one to access email or communications through Business and Comm modes, for example, and for kids to learn interactively through Learn mode.
These are augmented by the three modes for the car's "atmosphere" while driving: Relax, Active, and Family. Relax extends footrests and plays relaxing music while showing relaxation-oriented ambient lighting. Active and Family modes offer more of the HoloLens settings.
The AI in the car further tracks biometrics from passengers to adjust climate settings, communicate travel and destination information, suggest stops for needs such as food or bathrooms, and so on.
Some hard controls such as volume knobs and emergency buttons are also found in the I.D. Vizzion concept. These facilitate more intuitive control of such things as climate settings, music volume, etc and give an emergency override option should something go wrong with the vehicle's systems.
Volkswagen says that the I.D. Vizzion will be brought to production in 2022 with a more limited suite of capabilities, but the concept shown at Geneva is both a look at the physical appearance of the upcoming model and a dreamy look forward at the possibilities available in the near future. The I.D. Vizzion is being shown at the Geneva Motor Show.