The Volvo Concept 26 gives a realistic impression of how its vehicle interiors could evolve as autonomous driving technology advances over the coming years.
Volvo says Concept 26’s name reflects the average daily commute time of 26 minutes – time the Swedish car maker says could be spent doing something more meaningful than crawling through peak-hour traffic.
Concept 26 is based around a new patented seat design that can be set to three positions: drive, create, and relax.
‘Drive’ is self-explanatory, positioning the driver comfortably behind the steering wheel for the parts of their journey where human control is required.
‘Create’ retracts the steering wheel in towards the dashboard and reveals a large display on the passenger side, allowing occupants to work and be fully connected to the outside world.
‘Relax’ reclines the seats as far as possible and allows occupants to watch the screen, read, or do whatever takes their fancy.
Volvo Cars interior design vice president Robin Page believes autonomous vehicle interiors need to be “all about people”.
“Our research clearly shows that some people will want to use their commuting time creatively when they have full autonomous drive available, while others will want to just sit back and relax, watch online media or listen to music,” Page said.
“Autonomous drive will make all of this possible. This is what Concept 26 has captured by reimagining the entire car experience.”
Volvo Car Group research and development senior vice president Dr Peter Mertens says the brand’s flexible approach to engineering and design enabled by its Scalable Product Architecture means that it can “readily bring this from concept to reality”.
Volvo’s ongoing Drive Me project will see a fleet of fully autonomous cars driving real passengers around Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2017, as the car maker strides forward in its autonomous vehicle technology development.