Volvo 360c concept: A new vision for the future of travel
Imagine a car that could avoid the costs and hassles of flying by taking you from Sydney to Melbourne in first-class comfort while you sleep, work or relax.
Or envisage a car that, with its ability to maximise commuting time, might help lower property prices by prompting people to reconsider where they live.
And picture a car you could access via an on-demand subscription rather than owning.
These are potential scenarios envisioned by the new Volvo 360c concept that forms part of the company’s vision for the future of travel that is autonomous, electric, connected and safe.
Based on a fully autonomous, electric car without a human driver, the 360c reimagines how people travel, how they engage with friends, family and contacts, and how they can recapture time while travelling.
The concept presents four potential uses of autonomous driving vehicles – a sleeping environment, mobile office, living room and entertainment space – to represent an attractive travel option that could rival air, bus and train providers, but with competitive advantages in comfort, convenience and privacy.
The concept environments reflect the potential for change in the fundamental structure of how people live, by transforming unproductive or boring travel time into useful and enjoyable minutes or hours on the road.
It forms part of Volvo Cars’ mission to give drivers a whole week of their time back annually.
“The 360c explores what becomes possible when we remove the human driver, using new freedoms in design and recapturing time,” says Mårten Levenstam, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Volvo Cars. “It’s a glimpse at how autonomous drive technology will change the world as we know it. The possibilities are mind-boggling.”
Fully autonomous and electric travel offers a range of advanced safety and environmental benefits: less pollution, less traffic congestion, and related health and lifestyle advantages for those living in cities. It also opens up possibilities for more residential freedom, reduced pressure on real-estate pricing and more affordable home ownership.
Above: Interior of the Volvo 360c concept
“People becoming less reliant on proximity to cities is just one example of the impact of removing the burden of unproductive travel time,” says Levenstam. “The 360c driving office makes it viable for people to live at greater distances from crowded cities and use their time both in a more pleasant and more effective way.”
The 360c even has the potential to be a lucrative competitor to short-haul air travel, a multi-billion-dollar industry comprising airlines, aircraft makers and other service providers.
The 360c sleeping environment enables first-class private cabin travel from door to door, without the inconvenience of airport security, queuing, waiting around, or noisy and cramped planes.
“We regard the 360c as a conversation starter, with more ideas and answers to come as we learn more,” says Levenstam. “Yet we believe fully autonomous drive has the potential to fundamentally change our society in many ways.
“It will have a profound impact on how people travel, how we design our cities and how we use infrastructure. But we are just one of many stakeholders, so we expect and invite a broad discussion as society learns how to make the most of this revolutionary technology.”