The new 360c autonomous concept offers four potential uses of autonomous driving vehicles – a sleeping environment, mobile office, living room and entertainment space. This represents a travel option that could rival air, bus and train providers, but with competitive advantages in comfort, convenience and privacy. The 360c sleeping environment enables first-class private cabin travel from door to door, without the inconvenience of airport security, queuing, noisy and cramped airliners.
Volvo’s product strategy chief Marten Levenstam says this car is “a conversation starter, with more ideas and answers to come as we learn more.” That leaves a lot of specifics yet to be determined, but Volvo does envision four basic usage scenarios for a car like its 360c. It can serve as a mobile bedroom, replacing red-eye flights with a smoother, calmer, quicker, and more environmentally friendly travel option. It can turn your work commute into a much more productive time, offering the connectivity and space of a mobile office. Or it can be your living room and entertainment space. A modular interior with relevant information projected onto the windows makes flexibility the overriding characteristic of the 360c’s functionality.
Volvo has unveiled the 360c concept, a fully autonomous, fully electric car without a human driver. The company mentions “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 Volvo 360c will be positioned as an intermediate travel solution between short destinations, 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. This means a driving range of 300km on one full charge can be expected from the Volvo 360c.
The 360c prototype shown on Wednesday combines the size of Volvo’s flagship XC90 luxury SUV with an updated design that features all-round blue light panels to show that it is an autonomous car.
Head of product strategy Marten Levenstam said 360c robo-taxis could be competitive with short-haul flights and be sold to airlines such as such as Lufthansa, SAS and United Airlines.
The market is watching Volvo’s plans for the future following speculation that the company is preparing for a listing this year.
Geely, its Chinese parent, has hired three investment banks for an initial public offering that could value Volvo at $16-$30 billion, a person familiar with the matter has told Reuters. The top end of that range values Volvo at a higher multiple than any of the other traditional car companies.