If Volvo has its way, we’ll be eating, working or sleeping whilst we commute to work. The Chinese-owned Swedish carmaker has just unveiled its vision of the future. And it’s a concept car called the Volvo 360c.
It’s a fully autonomous, fully electric car that doesn’t even have a steering wheel. It features a sleeping pod, a mobile office and an entertainment space.
Obviously AV technology is not going to be adopted overnight, but the car maker believes it has the potential to to deliver a significant improvement in traffic safety. And Volvo Cars has history in this area as it invented the three-point safety belt back in 1959.
Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars says: “Autonomous drive will allow us to take the big next step in safety but also open up exciting new business models and allow consumers to spend time in the car doing what they want to do.”
In the future it also could be a competitor to airlines in the lucrative short haul market. “Domestic air travel sounds great when you buy your ticket, but it really isn’t. The 360c represents what could be a whole new take on the industry,” says Mårten Levenstam, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Volvo Cars.
He adds: “The sleeping cabin allows you to enjoy premium comfort and peaceful travel through the night and wake up refreshed at your destination. It could enable us to compete with the world’s leading aircraft makers.”
In its press release, Volvo says ‘the 360c is a first yet deliberate step towards a broad discussion about the potential for autonomous driving technology to fundamentally change society in many ways’.
According to Levenstam: “When the Wright brothers took to the skies in 1903, they did not have a clue about what modern air travel would look like. We do not know what the future of autonomous drive will hold, but it will have a profound impact on how people travel, how we design our cities and how we use infrastructure.”
The carmaker describes the 360c as as a conversation starter, and we certainly agree with that.