Air travel, minus the hassle.
Swedish carmaker Volvo is aiming to change the way you travel with its new concept car, the 360c. It’s trying to paint a world where you can enjoy all the amenities of business and luxury domestic air travel, without the headache of security checkpoints, queuing, and the inherent risk of losing your luggage.
“The business will change in the coming years, and Volvo should lead that change of our industry. Autonomous drive will allow us to take the next big 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.” — Håkan Samuelsson, President & CEO, Volvo Cars
In a future where autonomous cars are a staple on the road, Volvo wants to let you repurpose your transit time, and minimise wastage where possible. The 360c concept is a fully-electric, fully-autonomous driving ‘pod’ that is not only more friendly to your time, but is more friendly to the environment. And thanks to its fully-driverless capabilities, the cabin can accommodate up to three rows of forward-facing seats, or be reworked entirely to rival the very best aircraft experiences for short flights.
“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. 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.” — Mårten Levenstam, Senior Vice President (Corporate Strategy), Volvo Cars
The 360c is targeted at those who travel distances of around 300km by air, offering door-to-door connectivity and service that air travel simply cannot accommodate for. Volvo looked at the United States as an example, which saw some 740-million people travel domestically over 2017. Rather than fly, the 360c would theoretically offer the option of having a vehicle come to your door, and whisk you directly to your destination, without having to go through the hassle that air travel today entails.
Volvo’s also, predictably, going with a safety ploy here: When autonomous cars become commonplace, so will the ability for these self-driving vehicles to communicate with each other and their environment. Should that reality come to fruition, automotive travel should be able to offer similar, if not improved levels of safety than air travel.
However, even by Volvo’s own admission, the 360c is a “conversation starter,” with the primary aim of beginning the conversation into what automotive travel could morph itself into in the near future. But the opinion of this writer, who has always preferred car travel over air travel, this definitely appears to be a step in the right direction.