A better work/life balance with self-driving cars
12:30 AM | June 27 2016

A better work/life balance with self-driving cars

Marcus Rothoff, Volvo Cars’ Autonomous Driving Programme Director, explains how self-driving cars could change the way people balance their work and personal life. How will self-driving cars change the work/life balance?

“Self-driving cars will give people more control over how they use their time. When being autonomously driven, the driver will be able to use that time to catch up on their texts and emails, plan meetings or make business calls."

“Being able to work in your car will give you new options. You could get to work later so that you can have breakfast with the kids, for example. Or you could leave earlier and work on the way home. Autonomous driving will allow people to be more flexible in their planning.”

Do you think people will conduct more business calls in a self-driving car?
“People will be able to plan for them, yes. The car will take care of the driving and we’re working on new connectivity solutions that will allow the driver to make more use of the extra time they will have."

“I already plan conference calls in the car because I can talk to colleagues that are in different time zones on the way home from work. It means I don’t have to sit in the office waiting for a telephone call and end up getting home late."

“In a self-driving car with optimised connectivity and media packages these meetings will be even more productive.

Will the introduction of autonomous driving mean that people will spend more time working than they do now?
“It’s about improving our customers’ ability to plan their time – not just to work, but to do what you want. Self-driving cars will give you the freedom to spend the time you gain the way you want to. It might mean that you end up doing more work in the car, and then be able to really switch off when you’re home with the family. Of course, instead of working, you could just relax, maybe by watching watch a box set, or doing something creative. Your car will be capable of becoming a lounge or office on wheels – it will be up to you how you use it."

Volvo is putting a big emphasis on the commute to work in its autonomous driving strategy – why is this?
“Commuter routes are the perfect places to implement the first phase of autonomous driving. That’s why they are the focus for our Drive Me trials."

“It’s easier to reduce the risks on typical urban commuting roads – roads that have few crossings, traffic lights, pedestrians or cyclists. Making autonomous cars work on these roads fits with the current state of technology and it will provide the most dramatic benefits for our customers."

“Also, driving in the countryside is kind of fun, so why would you automate that when it’s where you can really enjoy your car?”

How will autonomous driving transform the commute?
“It’s about allowing the driver to relax. The car will support you by doing the driving, so you won’t have to worry about what’s going on around you. With a comfortable seat to sit in and good entertainment and information systems you’ll be able to truly switch off, or use the time productively."

“All this will mean that, at the end of the journey, you will feel fresh and relaxed, rather than stressed.”

How else might autonomous driving change the commute?
“Autonomous cars could result in more flexible working patterns and staggered commutes that would help relieve congestion for everyone. It could be one step towards a more sustainable mobility solution.”