Volvo is pitching the 360c as an alternative to flying
Volvo has revealed its new 360c concept car as part of the company’s vision for the future of travel – autonomous, electric, connected and safe – and which may allow Volvo Cars to enter new growth markets.
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.
“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,” said senior vice-president of corporate strategy at Volvo Cars Mårten Levenstam.
The 360c is based on a fully autonomous, electric car without a human driver. It 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 – representing an attractive travel option that could rival air, bus and train providers, but with competitive advantages in comfort, convenience and privacy.
With the 360c, Volvo Cars also explores opportunities to expand its business model beyond that of a traditional car manufacturer. The company anticipates strong customer interest from a range of different industries.
One example of this is the 360c’s 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.
With its new 360c autonomous concept, Volvo Cars tackles one of the main challenges around the introduction of autonomous technology and calls for a new, global standard in how autonomous vehicles can safely communicate with all other road users.
However, autonomous technology will be introduced gradually rather than overnight. As a result, fully autonomous cars will be introduced in a mixed traffic situation where driverless cars without a human driver will share the road with other road users.
As part of the development of the 360c, Volvo Cars safety engineers decided to tackle this challenge of how to establish a safe means of communication between fully autonomous cars and other road users.
Additionally, the focus was to create a universally applicable standard, so that other road users do not have to consider the make or brand of individual autonomous cars.
The 360c addresses this challenge with a system comprising external sounds, colours, visuals, movements, as well as combinations of these tools, to communicate the vehicle’s intentions to other road users. This means it is at all times clear what the car will do next.