Most electric concept cars address environmental and sustainability issues. Autonomous concept cars speak of a future where transportation is a service. And with their new 360c electric, autonomous concept car, Volvo goes a bit further to ask: What impact will such cars have on us as individuals? Might they influence our choices in terms of what jobs to take or where to live?
Where would you live if you could commute each workday in an autonomous driving, fully-functional, connected, comfortable, mobile office space? What if the service was provided via an on demand subscription basis? Or what if it was provided by one employer yet not another – which company would you work for?
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.
…Fully autonomous and electric travel…opens up possibilities for more residential freedom, reduced pressure on real estate pricing and more affordable home ownership.
"People becoming less reliant on proximity to cities is just one example of the impact of removing the burden of unproductive travel time," said Mårten Levenstam, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Volvo Cars. "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 concept presents four potential uses of autonomous driving vehicles – a sleeping environment, mobile office, living room and entertainment space - representing an attractive travel option that could rival air, bus and train providers, but with competitive advantages in comfort, convenience and privacy.
[The 360c has] potential as 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, noisy and cramped airliners.
I've done a fair amount of surface travel in my time, and I will say two of the best overland journeys I've ever taken were an overnight bus from Tokyo to Kyoto, and a sleeper car in a cross-country Amtrak. To fall asleep in one city or state and wake up refreshed in another, without you having had to drink coffee and drive all night, or deal with the hell of air travel, is a pretty magical sensation. If Volvo's vision of the autonomous-car future is the one we're going to wind up with, I look forward to it.
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It seems to me that someone at Volvo was inspired by Mario Bellini´s Kar-a- Sutra concept. Quoting his website: _"To stretch out, sleep, smile, chat face-to-face, stand up, enjoy the sun, take photos, play cards, eat and drink, make love, buy a horse and a piano along the way... Forerunning the future, the car becomes a MOBILE HUMAN SPACE".
There are no reasons to have cars this size if they are driverless. In fact most trucks could be downsized because of on time manufacturing. When goods can be delivered anytime of day why not deliver as you need it. Small loads and cars reduce wear to the road and space on the highways. What's the biggest item in your house? The Fridge? The Furnace? Large heavy road hog items could be relegated for delivery in the AM hours.
Diggin those lines! Everyone's talking about autonomous formats (personal, cargo, mix purpose) but I don't see an even road engineering development to this inminet future. Seems like no one is thinking about traffic jams, road quality, city lanes vs highways, etc.
As a person who is enthusiastic about many of the benefits of driverless cars, I am sad to point out that, if Volvo's predictions are true, road miles per person will increase, blunting or undoing most of the benefits they expect.