Volvo 360c autonomous EV concept takes aim at short flights

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The Volvo 360c concept has finally been unveiled, and it’s another , electric transportation pod. Like nearly every other preview of the fully- future, the product is a one-box design with the windshield and rear glass stretched to the far edges for maximum space usage. It has trendy thin, full-width headlight units and lots of glass in the doors. Certainly it has a number of Volvo touches, such as a the chunky, squared-off fenders, four-spoke wheels, and even the vertical taillamps that are incorporated into some tail fins that wouldn’t be out of place on a ’59 Cadillac. A 2059 Cadillac, that is.

Really, the interior isn’t especially different from other fully-autonomous concepts, either. It promises the potential of being a living room or lounge on wheels that could be used for entertaining or for work. Though a version that’s a bit more intriguing is the sleep-oriented configuration. The interior of this version is pretty much identical to that of an overseas business class seat. The passenger seat fully reclines to make it easy to sleep away the hours of the trip. There’s also space to store books, pillows and other travel-related items. All of these interior configurations are fixed, implying that these cars would be accessed via a subscription service, and you would simply select the version that best fits your immediate travel needs.

What’s more interesting than the car itself is ’s ideas on where this car would fit in the world. Apparently, sees it as a strong alternative to between 180 and 200 miles, giving examples such as New York City to Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles to San Diego. The company also points out that it would be easy for someone to summon the sleeping model and sleep in the car as it drives you to your destination overnight. It certainly sounds like a more pleasant way to knock out a trip than spending an hour or so in the airport, cramming onto a commuter flight, and then spending another hour getting out of the airport and onto other transportation.

Volvo also brought up the issue of needing a standardized way of communicating among autonomous cars and with other road users. The company didn’t go into great detail as to how the does this beyond using lights and sounds. It did note that the car doesn’t use any sorts of specific directions given to other road users, and it feels these should be avoided in order to avoid a situation in which people are getting conflicting and confusing instructions.

Of course, like many fully-autonomous concepts, anything approaching a production 360c is well off into the future. So don’t expect to be sleeping stretched out in the back of a car anytime soon unless its a chauffeur-driven Mercedes-Maybach.

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