Volvo wants to take on airlines with 360c

Volvo wants to take on airlines with 360c

Imagine a world in which you travel longer distances without the need for airports. A world in which you can avoid airport security, lengthy queuing and waiting, and noisy, cramped planes. What if, instead, you could take your own first-class private cabin that picks you up at home and takes you from door to door?

This is a vision for the future of autonomous travel that Volvo Cars has imagined with its new 360c concept car.

The Swedish car maker proposes that its fully autonomous, fully electric car without a human driver would be a more comfortable — and quicker — way of covering medium distances of about 300km than flying.

Because the self-driving electric car won’t need a steering wheel or a combustion engine, it provides the ability to reimagine the traditional placement of passengers in rows of two or three. The interior can be set up as a comfortable and roomy lounge for use as a mobile office, living room, sleeping environment or entertainment space.

Volvo envisions this as an alternative to distances of about 300km, for instance from OR Tambo International to Nelspruit airport, where travelling by air could be more time consuming than by car when including things such as travel to the airport, security checks and waiting times.

“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,” said Mårten Levenstam, senior vice-president of corporate strategy at Volvo Cars.

“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.”

Volvo says 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 explores what becomes possible when we remove the human driver, using new freedoms in design and recapturing time — it’s a glimpse at how autonomous drive technology will change the world as we know it. The possibilities are mind-boggling.

“When the Wright brothers took to the skies in 1903, they did not have a clue about what modern air travel would look like,” said Levenstam. “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.

“We regard the 360c as a conversation starter, with more ideas and answers to come as we learn more.” – BD Motor News