A few months ago, we showed you a Volvo concept where the designers ripped the front passenger seat out and replaced it with a multifunctional cabinet. Li Shufu, the Chinese billionaire who has owned Volvo since 2010, recently reviewed the concept and reportedly "thought about how else the space left by removing a front passenger seat could be used."
Volvo's design team had the answer: Dedicated seating for infants that is safer for the child and more ergonomic for the parents. As Tisha Johnson, Chief Designer Interiors at the Volvo Cars Concept and Monitoring Centre explains,
We started by asking ourselves if we could make life easier for parents and safer for their children when it comes to the child seat experience. We focused on three key benefits – making it easier to get the child into and out of the child seat from an ergonomic and comfort perspective, providing the child with a safe rearward facing seating position that enables it to keep eye-contact with either the driver or the rear passenger and of course including enough storage for those vital child accessories, such as diapers, bottles, wipes, and so on.
The result is the Volvo Excellence Child Seat Concept, which makes it much easier for parents to place the child into the seat, yet still manages to hew to Volvo's infant safety doctrine that "small children should travel rearward facing as long as possible (at least up to the age of 3 or 4). This is primarily due to the lack of muscular strength in the necks of small children and the disproportionate head size and weight."
This is presumably something that would be installed at the dealer, and replaced with a conventional seat once the child had outgrown infancy. But like the prior seat-replacement concept, there's no word on whether this will actually be rolled out.