Volvo’s Concept 26: Better Autonomous Driving

Posted by: Kenny Chan onNovember 21st, 2015


While they had nothing new in terms of new vehicles or any concept vehicles to show, Volvo still had something to show us. In their booth was a white tarp covering something really small. They had fans blowing air under the tarp to keep it inflated to look bigger but it was obvious there was no vehicle under there. What they ended up unveiling was a concept interior that Volvo’s Monitoring and Concept Center was working on.

Tisha Johnson, Senior Design Director introduced us to what Volvo sees as the driver’s console of the future–one where autonomous driving will be the norm. In modern day vehicles with autonomous driving capability, the interiors are not quite optimized for non-driving activities. With the steering wheel in the way, and the small infotainment screens there is not much room to be productive.

Enter the Volvo Time Machine Concept. By holding down both shift paddles for a few seconds, the driver engages the autonomous driving mode, or rather, disengages from driving. The steering wheel retracts, the seat moves back and reclines and a 26″ screen unfolds on the passenger side of the dash. All the while the control tablet in the center console remains within reach.

Volvo is so confident in their non-existent autonomous driving system that they claim they will take on full liability when the vehicle is in this mode. This sounds great, but all this tells me is that there probably won’t be an autonomous driving capable Volvo for many years.

Something that will be available earlier is the child seat concept interior they showed off of the XC90. With this option, the front passenger seat is removed, replaced by a base that a child car seat can attach to. The front passenger airbag is also removed along with the seat. This seems like a great option for those with just 1 child that requires a child seat as it allows the parent to drive and check on their child. For a parent sitting in the back with their child they can now interact with them much more comfortably. Look for this to become an option in the XC90, and possibly other vehicles in Volvo’s line up.

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