Volvo’s 360c Autonomous Concept Takes Aim At Long Distance Traveling

According to Volvo, having to go through airport security and waiting several hours to board a noisy, cramped airplane is something the autonomous car of the future will be able to fix.

The automaker’s new 360c concept represents a self-driving fully electric first-class private cabin that can drive you to your destination in complete comfort, regardless of how far away it is. It also doesn’t have a steering wheel, which means even more room for passengers to stretch out.

These types of vehicles could open up new growth markets for Volvo, such as the multi-billion dollar domestic air travel industry.

The 360c concept has four main potential uses – a sleeping environment, mobile office, living room and entertainment space, all of which re-imagine the way people travel.

“The business will change in the coming years, and Volvo should lead that change of our industry,” stated Volvo boss Hakan Samuelsson. “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 do.”

Volvo sees the 360c as a “potentially lucrative competitor” to short-haul air travel, specifically on shorter routes where the distance to your destination is roughly 300 km (186 miles).

In the United States alone, more than 740 million people embarked on domestic flights last year, an industry that’s worth billions of dollars in revenue. Meanwhile, several 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 if you also factor in having to get to the airport, going through security and other various waiting times.

“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 Volvo exec, Marten Levenstam. “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.”

Volvo says that their latest concept doesn’t just re-imagine traveling, but also looks at how people engage with friends and family whenever on the move, “recapturing” time on the road. So in a sense, the 360c represents a first step towards a broad discussion about how autonomous technology will change society, or as Levenstam puts it: “a conversation starter, with more ideas and answers to come as we learn more.”

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  • Six_Tymes

    now this looks like future coolness

  • Knotmyrealname

    Another vehicle where men design cars to facilitate savvy, power-dressing, champagne-swilling business women who are incapable or too lazy (or drunk) to drive themselves to their next appointment.

  • Ilbirs

    Another static prototype that serves as showcase of a proposal. For now I prefer watching the race on making Hyperloop a viable thing.

  • wonderdallas

    Or a wave of roadside bath facilities with built-in private garages. Imagine the single car garage door opens to a parking and recharging spot but also with a private bathroom/shower off to the side.

    • DR.FUNK

      Indeed.
      An entire “ecosystem” would come along in support.
      The model for it already exists in the form of truck stops.

  • Marty

    A bit underwhelming design wise, isn’t it? I don’t see much that makes me go “I want that in a future Volvo!”.

    • DR.FUNK

      Function beats form this time…happens.

      • Marty

        Design isn’t a competition between function and form, it’s the execution of function by form.

        What I see here is (IMHO) a failure to express the function with form that uses the brand’s DNA or adds viable parts to it.

    • fathornyblackandjoe

      Not sure what’s missing? It’s a package that fits with existing infrastructures while providing flexible, comfortable usable passenger space. Forms, shapes, colors, textures are all neutral and calm, to create a relaxing, non-distracting environment. Technology and information is seamlessly integrated, to minimize intrusiveness. It’s actually quite thoughtfully designed, I think.

      • Marty

        Yes, they managed to get all those things into the package, but I don’t think the Volvo identity is there.

        • fathornyblackandjoe

          Oh. Well, that’s fair enough. I thought you were underwhelmed by the design itself. As far as the Volvo identity…I do like the lighted logo, and I think the vertical tail-light “fins” are a modern interpretation of the tail lights on the current X vehicles…but it’s definitely not as strong as before.

          I think Volvo is going to need some time to develop some new identity expressions (as everyone else has/does), as they discover new design limitations and freedoms with EVs…the grille, for example, is such an important identity element for ICE designs, but is functionally unnecessary for BEVs. Same thing for tail pipes, as another example…such an important brand and vehicle identity element for ICE, not functionally necessary for ICE.

          So maybe eventually it will look more like Volvo, once they figure out what the Volvo BEV identity looks like.

          Based on the general designs of Volvo and Polestar, though, I think it looks pretty promising.

  • DR.FUNK

    Definitely a future I could get with.

  • DR.FUNK

    I’m more than happy to offer my RAM Promaster as a real world platform vehicle to test this concept.

  • flamin hot powah

    I think the exterior is so-so, but the real concept behind it is really awesome.

  • GOOD LORD IT LOOKS LIKE A COFFIN.

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