Imagine a world in which you travel long distances without the need for airports. A world in which you can avoid airport security, hours of queuing and waiting, and noisy, cramped airliners.
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?
It is this vision for the future of autonomous travel that Volvo Cars revealed Sept. 5 with its new Volvo 360c concept, a holistic view of a future of travel that is autonomous, electric, connected and safe. It could open up new growth markets for Volvo Cars, for example in the multi-billion dollar domestic air travel industry.
The basis of the 360c is a fully autonomous, fully electric car without a human driver. The concept capitalizes on the freedom in design afforded by the absence of a steering wheel and a combustion engine, providing the ability to reimagine the traditional placement of passengers in rows of two or three.
The 360c presents four potential uses of autonomous driving vehicles---a sleeping environment, mobile office, living room and entertainment space---that all reimagine the way people travel. It also introduces a proposal for a global standard in how autonomous vehicles can safely communicate with all other road users.
“The business will change in the coming years, and Volvo should lead that change of our industry,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars. “Autonomous drive will allow us to take the big next step in safety, but also open up exciting new business models and allow consumers to spend time in the car doing what they want to do.”
The 360c represents a potentially lucrative competitor to short-haul air travel, a multi-billion dollar industry comprising airlines, aircraft makers and other service providers. Especially shorter routes where the distance between origin and destination is around 300 kilometers are prime candidates for disruption by an alternative mode of travel.