Volvo admits that it doesn't have all the answers when it comes to autonomous cars. But it does have a "conversation starter."
The fully autonomous, fully electric 360c concept car the company debuted in Sweden last week shows the automaker's ideas for winning a large share of the multibillion-dollar short-haul air travel business, not to mention taking passengers from buses and trains.
"We regard the 360c as a conversation starter, with more ideas and answers to come as we learn more," said Marten Levenstam, Volvo senior vice president of corporate strategy. "We do not know what the future of autonomous drive will hold, but it will have a profound impact on how people travel, how we design our cities and how we use infrastructure."
Volvo sees the multifunctional, connected self-driving car as a viable alternative for trips of about 186 miles, opening new business opportunities for the automaker, which wants autonomous vehicles to account for a third of its global sales by 2025.
"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," Levenstam said.
Volvo says the 360c, which does not have a steering wheel, shows four potential uses of autonomous vehicles — a sleeping environment, mobile office, living room and entertainment space.
"The sleeping cabin allows you to enjoy premium comfort and peaceful travel through the night and wake up refreshed at your destination," Levenstam said. "It could enable us to compete with the world's leading aircraft makers."