It is this vision for the
future of autonomous travel that Volvo Cars reveals 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
capitalises 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 – which 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 Hakan
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,” he
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 kilometres are prime candidates for disruption by an
alternative mode of travel.
For example, within the United
States over 740 million travellers embarked on domestic flights last year and
America’s domestic air travel industry is worth billions of dollars in revenue.
Several busy domestic air routes, such as New York to Washington DC, Houston to
Dallas and Los Angeles to San Diego, are more time-consuming by air than by car
when including things such as travel to the airport, security checks and
“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 Marten 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,” added Levenstam.