Starting in 2020 Volkswagen will be launching, in quick succession, newly developed electric vehicles with long driving ranges and visionary design: the I.D. Family. Three I.D. models have already been presented as concept cars: the compact I.D.; an SUV model, the I.D. CROZZ; and a van/MPV, the I.D. BUZZ. Now, at the Geneva International Motor Show (8 to 18 March), Volkswagen is presenting the new automotive highlight of the I.D. Family: the I.D. VIZZION – a next-generation, avant-garde premium class saloon. It drives autonomously and is operated by voice and gesture control. Thanks to artificial intelligence, it is capable of learning. It is a fascinating Volkswagen of tomorrow, which will be opening a portal to the future in Geneva.
Travel and space reinterpreted. The I.D. VIZZION transfers the charismatic design DNA of the I.D. models – the design of Volkswagen electric mobility – to the world of large saloons. The models achieve their status through a new, intelligent interpretation of travel and space. The mobile interior – the ‘open space’ – is thought out anew here, so that the time spent on short and long trips in daily living can be utilised more productively and flexibly. Choosing a car like the I.D. VIZZION is an expression of a deliberate decision by its users – regardless of whether it is used in a sharing arrangement or is owned outright.
Real and virtual worlds become one. Interaction with the I.D. VIZZION is performed virtually via augmented reality (AR). Here, a vision of the year 2030 is being provided with respect to truly comprehensive connectivity. A world of mobility is coming in which nearly everything is conceivable and possible. The car’s communications technology has advanced to become a host, a virtual assistant which is capable of learning and responds empathically. The I.D. VIZZION delivers one thing above all: more personal freedom. That is because it is a smart device on wheels that does not require a driver and thereby becomes a chauffeur. Because it is so comprehensively connected that it is part of the digital world. Because it gives all on-board guests (there is no driver) the freedom to relax, communicate, work and set the next destination for the I.D. VIZZION while on the road. Thanks to the intuitive interaction between human and machine via augmented reality and newly designed mixed reality eyewear – the HoloLens developed by Microsoft – as well as natural language control, the I.D. VIZZION is designed to be fully intuitive and therefore easy for users to operate. The largest of any of the Volkswagen I.D. models presented to date will become a mobile living space that can be comprehensively personalised through the interactive lounge or ‘open space’.
Progressive All-New Electric Architecture. In presenting the I.D. VIZZION, Volkswagen is showing the great potential embodied by the All-New Electric Architecture of the I.D. Family. Based on this technical matrix, Volkswagen will be able to cover the entire spectrum of electric mobility. The concept car being presented in Geneva is also further proof that Volkswagen is not leaving any scenario unexamined on the road to the future. Like all of the other I.D. models shown previously, the I.D. VIZZION is far more than just a projection screen for the future. In its fluid, monolithic design and progressive All-New Electric Architecture it reflects how Volkswagen envisions an electrically powered premium class saloon. While, as mentioned, user operation via augmented reality gives an outlook on the year 2030, fully automated driving on Level 5 is already conceivable starting in 2025. The design of the I.D. VIZZION, its electric all-wheel drive system with two electric motors that deliver a system power of 225 kW, a high-voltage battery with 111 kWh of energy capacity and a driving range of up to 665 kilometres are all part of the very near future. The I.D. VIZZION clearly shows just how fascinating the mobility of tomorrow will be. That is because the automobile still has its best times ahead of it. It will become cleaner, more efficient and safer than ever. With autonomous driving, the car will also be open to completely new users. And that will happen earlier than many people anticipate today – at the latest by the middle of the next decade.
Artificial intelligence. The I.D. VIZZION concept car is one of the first cars to have the future potential of ‘artificial intelligence’ incorporated into its concept. Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to programmes capable of self-learning which execute algorithms to recognise, evaluate and interpret patterns. Over time, these systems continue to learn more, which also enables them to react to new situations. Therefore, the concept of ‘artificial intelligence’ really signifies no less than a revolution in programming. Whereas today’s software engineers write programmes and thereby implement characteristics in automobiles that are highly innovative but not yet capable of learning, soon programmes will be used that utilise ‘machine learning’. This ‘machine learning’ of tomorrow is an important step on the path towards the ‘artificial intelligence’ of the future after tomorrow. ‘Machine learning’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ will make vehicle concepts like that of the I.D. VIZZION possible. It is a car that combines mobility on the highest level with intelligent services – a kind of intelligent chauffeur. That is precisely what the I.D. VIZZION does. Volkswagen is promoting AI development for automobiles in a big way. The path to this goal can be partitioned into three phases: ‘conventional programming’ (today), ‘machine learning’ (immediate future) and ‘artificial intelligence’ (future).
- ‘Conventional programming’ — the present. Unlike the I.D. VIZZION of tomorrow, today’s vehicles still do not possess artificial intelligence. Instead, developers currently define comprehensive programme code that describes all aspects of system behaviour. The Lane Assist lane-keeping assistant uses a conventional, model-based programme, for instance. Its developers have precisely described mathematical parameters for visual recognition of lane markings. In their programming, the developers must, of course, also incorporate all sorts of deviations – such as missing or interrupted lane markings – so that they can handle all conceivable scenarios. The optical information supplied by the front camera is then compared with the mathematical description of lane markings, and if they agree Lane Assist is activated and ready to intervene.
- ‘Machine learning’ – the immediate future: Programs are now being trained to learn very complex parameters. In this training process, they learn to deduce unknown facts based on ‘machine learning’. At Volkswagen, for example, ‘machine learning’ is being used in the interpretation of the vehicle environment by what are referred to as peripheral cameras (in the exterior mirrors and at the front and rear ends). The reason: the environmental recognition system of a Volkswagen must now be able to differentiate many different visual patterns from one another. For example, the cameras must recognise whether they are ‘seeing’ a truck, passenger car, pedestrian or bicycle rider. ‘Conventional programming’ of these patterns (similar to the lane markings of Lane Assist) is a challenge. ‘Machine learning’ offers a solution to this challenge. In this process, developers ‘feed-in’ an image recognition algorithm with thousands of training data – images of trucks, passenger cars, pedestrians and bicycle riders. This allows the algorithm to learn in a machine-like way. It trains with images to distinguish between the different road users. This enables the implementation of new functions. But ‘machine learning’ still is not ‘artificial intelligence’.”
- ‘Artificial intelligence’ – the future. ‘Artificial intelligence’ requires a programme that can draw its own conclusions autonomously, which allows it to make its own decisions. The I.D. VIZZION concept with its interactive assistant is based on this. The automobiles of tomorrow will operate with far fewer control elements, and with controls that can be operated fully intuitively. Assistants like the system integrated in the I.D. VIZZION adapt more perfectly to its users from day to day, because they are capable of learning. The system recognizes their needs and tastes – such as seat and air conditioning settings and their favourite playlists, and it activates them autonomously as a function of the context and situation. The Volkswagen of tomorrow will thereby become a friendly companion and the ideal chauffeur. Hardware and software will be optimally synchronized by the Volkswagen car’s ‘artificial intelligence’. For autonomous driving, this also includes the essential laser and radar sensors, cameras and electronic control units. They independently share the data and derive the right driving manoeuvre based on their own decisions. That is ‘artificial intelligence’. That is the I.D. VIZZION.
Safety, freedom, simplicity, ‘at home’. Volkswagen has grouped key innovations of the I.D. VIZZION into four subject clusters. They show boldly how new technologies will quickly change peoples’ lives and thereby improve them.
- SAFETY – car driving will be safer than ever with the I.D. VIZZION. Facial recognition is used to fundamentally ensure that this Volkswagen does not end up in the wrong hands. Voice and gesture control avoid faulty operation of controls. Interactively communicating projection headlights, which, for example, can beam virtual zebra stripes onto the road, protect pedestrians and bicycle riders. Ultimately, it is automated driving at its highest level (5) that will produce noticeable reductions in the number of accidents.
- FREEDOM – the freedom of the individual is greater in cars like the I.D. VIZZION. That is because autonomous driving on Level 5 gives every guest the opportunity to utilise their time in the vehicle with greater freedom and in a more practical way. Since the I.D. VIZZION exploits the potential of artificial intelligence and can therefore learn, it also adapts better and better each day to the needs of its on-board guests.
- SIMPLICITY – in a complicated world, the I.D. VIZZION makes life simpler. That is because its operation is intuitive. Manageable and tailor-made mobility for everyone. The Volkswagen becomes a digital assistant here. Augmented reality opens up an entirely new world of interaction and communication.
- HOME – the open space of the I.D. VIZZION is a lounge on wheels. This lounge can be personalised by different travel modes. Whether it is used to relax, work, play or communicate – everything is possible in the open space. If the selected travel mode calls for it, the windows can be electro-chemicallydarkened, and disturbing environmental noises can be eliminated by active noise cancellation. The concept car utilises the sensors of fitness trackers and the HoloLens (Health Function Screening) to monitor the vital data of its guests and uses this information to control the air conditioning. In this way, the I.D. VIZZION becomes the mobile smart home of a new era.
Autonomous driving at the maximum level
Driving without a driver. Volkswagen is showing the maximum extension stage of automated driving in the I.D. VIZZION. The levels of automation are subdivided into five levels. From Level 4, the multiple redundantly designed technologies for automated driving are so intelligent that a driver is no longer needed. Nonetheless, cars operating at Level 4 still have a steering wheel and cockpit inside, and the user can choose to drive it conventionally as well. In the I.D. VIZZION designed for Level 5, this is no longer the case. It drives exclusively as a fully autonomous vehicle. Consequently, there is no longer any need for a driver’s seat, steering wheel, dash panel or foot pedals. This frees up more space in the lounge-like open space. The I.D. VIZZION detects its environment via inter-connected laser scanners, ultrasonic sensors, radar sensors for objects in the near-zone and radar sensors for long distances, front and rear cameras and side area view cameras. The sensors are not visible in the latest I.D. concept car. Traffic data is also continually obtained via the cloud and is compared with the data in the I.D. VIZZION. Future networking of vehicles with one another will also enable the Volkswagen car to utilise the swarm intelligence of the immediate surroundings and the larger environment (Car-2-Car and Car- 2-X). In addition, the I.D. VIZZION integrates high-resolution digital maps into navigation.
Beginning as early as 2025. Volkswagen assumes that Level 4 and Level 5 of fully automated driving will already be a reality in 2025. This means that autonomous driving will become a part of mobility sooner than was assumed for a long time.
Electric all-wheel drive
All-New Electric Architecture. The drive system components of the All- New Electric Architecture – two motors, two gearboxes, the electronics that link everything together and the high-voltage battery – are optimally incorporated into the I.D. VIZZION package. The lithium ion battery has an energy capacity of 111 kWh and is housed in the vehicle floor. This creates space, lowers the centre of gravity and ensures ideal weight distribution. The same applies to the two electric motors on the front and rear axles. The motor in front is a 75 kW coaxial drive, and a compact 150 kW motor is used at the rear. They develop a total system power of 225 kW and drive their respective axles directly. Intelligent drive control ensures optimal handling properties in every situation. Powered in this way, the I.D. VIZZION can cover distances of up to 665 kilometres on a single battery charge. The power electronics are a crucial link for controlling the flow of high-voltage energy between the motors and the battery. The power electronics convert the direct current (DC) stored in the battery into alternating current (AC). The ideal method for charging the battery is over an inductive interface. But conventional charging via a plug is also possible with the Combined Charging System (CCS), charging stations or conventional electrical sockets.
Proportions and aerodynamics of the All-New Electric Architecture
New dimensions. The proportions of the 5,163 mm long, 1,947 mm wide and 1,506 mm tall I.D. VIZZION already differentiate it from all other comparable production vehicles of the premium class. These are the proportions of an avant-garde, spacious and powerful electric car based on the All-New Electric Architecture from Volkswagen. And this new architecture is apparent from every perspective of the fluid and crystal-clear design of the concept car. The wheelbase (3,100 mm) and roof section are extremely long, while the front and rear overhangs are short. This creates more space than in today’s premium class models. In addition, the I.D. VIZZION sets new standards with its refined aerodynamics.
Avant-garde exterior generates maximum interior space
Visual matrix of a new era. The All-New Electric Architecture supplies the conceptual matrix for a new era in Volkswagen Design. By using extremely dynamic proportions, Volkswagen Head of Design Klaus Bischoff and his team have created a car body marked by clarity and transparency. The design of the I.D. VIZZION combines fluid elements with power and precision to create a premium class car unlike any seen to date. The central focus of this concept – which applies to the I.D. VIZZION in general – is the well-being of the car’s occupants. The All- New Electric Architecture, bringing with it the far-forward placement of the front axle, provides travellers with a maximum amount of available open space in the interior. At the same time, the proportions of the I.D. VIZZION produce a fascinatingly dominant and dynamic look. This results in an overall appearance that is both coherent and very expressive. It is marked by a meticulously high level of quality in the execution of all surfaces. In its side profile, the fascinatingly clean and powerful design DNA of the I.D. VIZZION, finished in ‘Baladi Orange’ body colour, shows a close relationship to the I.D. and I.D. CROZZ. At the same time, a comparison of I.D. Family members – this elongated top model of the Phaeton class, the powerful SUV and the compact I.D. – shows how a large range of very different models based on the All- New Electric Architecture will be going into production in years to come.
Front end has interactive HD Matrix headlights
Statement of dynamism. From a front perspective, the I.D. VIZZION makes an impressive statement of dynamism with its bonnet, which is extremely low in the middle, and its homogeneously shaped wings that rise sharply to the sides. The viewer can see the pioneering aerodynamic dynamism of the concept car in the shape of its front body.
Light is the new chrome. In addition, light dominates at the front end. Here too, the I.D. VIZZION sends a clear message in its design. Light is the new chrome. A central point here is the white, illuminated VW badge on the bonnet. On the new I.D. VIZZION, this LED element also develops into a white, animated light axis. As soon as the I.D. VIZZION recognises one of its passengers via electronic key or a facial scan, this light axis ‘flows’ over the side body and the white-illuminated door handles and into the rear body – and is only interrupted by body elements such as the front wheel wells and the rear wings.
‘IQ light’. The lighting concept is designed to be interactive. In the front end area, for instance, active lighting elements adapt to the environment of the I.D. VIZZION according to the driving situation. Lights that are being used for the first time in a Volkswagen concept car are making a large technical leap here: the HD Matrix headlights. These intelligent dipped beam and main beam headlights of tomorrow operate with 8,000 light pixels. In a few years, these dots of light will be used to project symbols and displays in front of the car. These could be the virtual ‘zebra stripes’ of a pedestrian crossing. It signals to pedestrians that the I.D. VIZZION has seen and recognised them, and is stopping to let them cross the road safely. The HD headlights even draw the attention of pedestrians when the animated function is not activated, because of the design of their light facets. That is because – thanks to its HD Matrix headlights – the I.D. VIZZION seems more like an intelligent being that is ‘gazing’ than a car with any other headlight system. In the future, the top-of-the-line headlight systems at Volkswagen will get the name ‘IQ Light’. In the case of the I.D. VIZZION, it is, as mentioned, a HD headlight system.
Side profile of a future generation of vehicles
Perfection of surfaces. The design of the I.D. VIZZION is characterised by a reduction of superfluous elements. Together with his team, Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen Head of Design, created the new image of a large zero-emission vehicle. Without any example to follow, the I.D. VIZZION transports the future to the present. The design appeals with a fascinating perfection of homogeneous surfaces. Even the windows are integrated flush into this automotive sculpture of a new era. They can be darkened electrically within 200 milliseconds. This makes the ‘greenhouse’ visually merge more with the shoulder and side sections of the body.
The future made visible. The coupé-like roofline of the I.D. VIZZION is very long; with the C-pillars it extends back behind the wheel arches of the rear body. This alone makes it clear that the I.D. VIZZION offers maximum space, exactly like the three other models of the family: the I.D., I.D. CROZZ and I.D. BUZZ. An interior that becomes an open space (see chapter “Open space of the digital world”). The roof section stretches over a silhouette which – despite its long length and the open space it encloses – is also reminiscent of the dynamism of a sports car. This has resulted in a new definition of a grand touring car, which visualises the future and the great potential of electric mobility. The All- New Electric Architecture opens up a whole new range of possibilities here. For the design team, this architecture was the template for putting a car body on wheels that has a visionary design and an extreme presence. The side sections are eye-catching with their seamlessly designed surfaces. This monolithic design flows around the powerfully designed wings, elegant roofline, distinctively short overhangs and strong shoulder sections. The I.D. VIZZION leaves the look of traditional saloons in the past and points the way to the future with its power and aesthetic.
Rear-hinged rear doors. Counter-opening doors dominate the space between the aerodynamically designed 24-inch wheels. They open (electrically) in opposite directions and up to a full right angle of 90 degrees, which enables exceptionally comfortable entry (without B- pillars). This effect is reinforced by the fact that the front doors extend forward to just before the front wheels, and their counterparts at the rear reach nearly to the middle of the rear wheels. At the bottom, the doors transition into a powerful side sill; in the middle they form the waist of the I.D. VIZZION. At the top, a very long window line develops on the door surfaces which is terminated by a silver roof frame. At the rear, this roof frame transitions into the concise coupé-like look of the C-pillars.
Rear of a sports car
Smart dynamism. The rear of the I.D. VIZZION also has nothing in common with that of a traditionally designed saloon. Instead of relying on conservative status, the I.D. VIZZION uncompromisingly aims for a smart dynamic appeal. The rear, with its sharp trailing edge, has ideal aerodynamic properties. Instead of a conventional boot lid, an electrically actuated rear lid swings upward, giving access to a 565-litreboot space. Like the overall car, the rear also exhibits clean and expressive styling. The white light axis keeps pace with the digitally connected world at the rear too. This low-profile strip of LEDs spans the sides of the car into the rear wings and thereby emphasises the large width of the I.D. VIZZION. Immediately above the white band of LEDs, a red LED strip provides tail light and brake light functions. The centre or ‘third’ brake light is the rear window itself, because it is also a gigantic OLED display. With increasing intensity of braking, the brake light enlarges interactively from bottom to top.
Open space in the digital world
Electrically darkening glass surfaces. The I.D. VIZZION has an interior which enables a new dimension in travel. Here, passengers access – via doors that open a full 90 degrees – a mobile lounge whose comfort features exceed the boundaries of the premium class. It is the expanse of this space, the great potential for interactive connectivity and the ergonomics which have been tailored to people more systematically than ever which fascinate and elevate the interior design to a new level. Four ergonomically balanced integral seats (front seats have reclining function) form the centre of this world. Since the car recognises its occupants by biometric facial recognition or electronic device, such as a smartphone, it is able to call up settings from the cloud via the Volkswagen ID and automatically adjusts the seats for an individual occupant. The I.D. VIZZION also uses the profile for the Volkswagen ID to control parameters such as lighting, climate control, infotainment including streaming services and scents. Between the seats there is a centre console which is either open or closed, depending on the mode set for the interior. Unlike most interior concepts today, the interior is laid out like a lounge and not as a driver-focused space. This fully autonomously driving Volkswagen does not need any traditional driver’s seat with cockpit. Therefore, the space was designed to surround the passengers like a cocoon, creating a relaxed atmosphere. Foot rests invite guests to relax. Contributing to this comfort are select materials such as vegetable-tanned leather (in ‘San Tropez’ colour) and natural, untreated woods from sustainable cultivation. The bright, congenial and relaxed atmosphere is reinforced by large side window surfaces and a continuous panoramic sunroof that runs from front to rear. To ensure that the transparency of the space is not too great, the glass surfaces can be darkened electronically. At maximum darkening, the privacy glass is nearly opaque.
Augmented reality. Since the I.D. VIZZION only drives fully autonomously, the car has no dash panel, as noted previously. The concept vehicle is primarily operated by gesture and voice control, which is how the occupants communicate with a virtual assistant. The driving destination is also communicated to the car by either voice control or a smart device. In addition, all guests aboard the I.D. VIZZION can, if they wish, use a HoloLens which projects a virtual interface into the real space by augmented reality. The interface is a virtual ring over which the occupants can communicate with the car and other digital devices by gesture control. This ‘mixed reality’ is already being used increasingly in the industrial field today, and it will also come to dominate in the automobile over the course of the next decade. The I.D. VIZZION is one of the first concept cars worldwide to enable an outlook on this world. Nonetheless, there are still two real rotary/pushbutton controls on the centre console of the I.D. VIZZION (one front, one rear) to enable the intuitive manual control of functions such as entertainment volume control that people are accustomed to. Simultaneously, this multifunctional element – in harmony with certain safety levels – can also be used to give general directional commands. In addition, the I.D. VIZZION can be stopped fully with this switch.
Assistant ‘reacts’ predictively. Thanks to the intuitively used augmented reality, which includes gesture and voice control, operation of the I.D. VIZZION is considerably simpler than we are accustomed to today. In addition, the virtual assistant aboard the I.D. VIZZION reacts predictively to a wide variety of events and relevant points of interest. For instance, if the car is approaching a traffic jam that cannot be avoided, the interactive assistant automatically communicates the new arrival time for the given destination. If there is a cafe along the route, which one of the guests would like to make use of, the assistant asks whether it should drive to the cafe or perhaps order a ‘coffee to go’ and pay for it. As described, the car can also be interconnected with all conceivable digital devices. These include – naturally only upon request – fitness trackers. Via these and/or the HoloLens, the I.D. VIZZION tracks the vital parameters of its passengers. For example, if it notices that someone is too hot, it adjusts the temperature downward for the area of that passenger via indirect ventilation of the four-zoneautomatic air conditioner. Providing for an optimum, customised in-carclimate is Volkswagen’s newly developed CleanAir system. Regardless of the ambient conditions, it continually maintains the air quality inside the I.D. VIZZION at an ideal level. This is done by the use of an active filter system.
Interior and interaction are adaptive. Three different travel modes can be activated on-board via the personal assistant: ‘Relax’, ‘Active’ and ‘Family’. In the Active mode, for example, the passenger can sit as usual, work, communicate, play and call up information on the drive. As soon as a guest activates ‘Relax’ mode, a foot rest extends out and relaxed music is played; in this case, the ambient lighting switches to a warm colour. In addition, various scenarios can be called up via the HoloLens. They include the digital modes ‘Business’, ‘Navigation’, ‘Entertain’, ‘Communication’ and – especially for any children on-board– ‘Learning’. The projections that are customised for each mode are shown in the user’s visual field as augmented reality via the HoloLens. The ‘Business’ mode, for instance, makes it possible to participate in meetings by video chat or easily process e-mails and presentations. Under ‘Learning’, children can call up games and learning apps. They can also look at such content as the positions of our planets animated in a virtual space.