Volvo re-imagines long-distance travel with 360c

Volvo 360c Interior (Image courtesy of Volvo Car USA)

Even with TSA Pre-Check, air travel can be a hassle. From flight delays and noisy passengers to cramped quarters and your neighbor’s smelly bare feet, anyone who travels frequently has wished for a better way to get from point A to point B.

Volvo is playing the “what if” game and revealed a concept that would basically give long-distance travelers a private first-class cabin.

The Volvo 360c concept is fully autonomous and electronic, and it doesn’t even give its passengers the façade of taking control – pedals and steering wheel are both absent.

The idea – and it is just an idea – is to re-imagine how an automaker could re-configure a traditional two- or three-row vehicle in the land of autonomy.

Whether it’s sleep, work or entertainment space, the 360c gives an alternate view of what could be.

While someone might not want to take the 360c from Chicago to Orlando (about an 18-hour drive), it might make more sense from Chicago to Detroit (a 4.5-hour drive).

As Volvo points out in a press release, 740 million travelers took domestic flights in 2017, and several commuter routes – such as New York to Washington DC or LA to San Francisco – take longer by air than driving when you factor in security, delays and actual travel to the airport.

“Domestic air travel sounds great when you buy your ticket, but it really isn’t,” said Mårten Levenstam, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Volvo Cars, in the press release. “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.”

It’s also a peek at how city infrastructures, technology and society could change as autonomous cars enter the market.

The Bottom Line:

No specs have been released, and the images are digitally created. So, you know the 360c isn’t anywhere near reality.

But it is a pretty interesting game of “what if.”