Volvo Concept 26 Previews Self-Driving Future

At the 2015 L.A. Auto Show, Volvo debuted an interior design concept that previews its self-driving vehicles.

The Volvo Concept 26 is the first autonomous drive interior built on an existing vehicle platform and, according to the Swedish automaker, it “represents a new way of thinking about how luxury autonomous cars will integrate into daily life.” By providing numerous interior configurations, the Volvo Concept 26 combines today’s needs with emerging trends and technologies, resulting in an experience where drivers no longer have to focus on the driving task itself.

With self-driving cars eventually heading to our roads, Volvo believes that the technology will allow drivers to reclaim “a significant amount of time from their daily commute,” putting a spin on the idea that self-driving Volvos are “time machines.”

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The company conducted research showing that drivers will regain an average of 26 additional minutes for each commute and several hundred hours per year. That number is considerably more for those living in large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles or New York.

The concept itself is built around a patented new seat design that cradles the driver at all times, including when it transforms between the three different modes: Drive, Create and Relax. The interior combines a tablet interface in the center console with a foldable tray table and a 25-inch, flat-screen monitor that flips up from the passenger side. As for the three modes, Drive provides a traditional, manual driving experience while minimizing driver distraction, while Create allows for a variety of configurations for the seat, table and screens that will allow the driver to engage in a wide range of activities such as reading, working on a project or consuming media and other online content. Naturally, the vehicle is driving itself in the Create mode.

Lastly, there’s the Relax mode that transforms the seat into a comfortable reclining position so the “driver” can just do nothing, relax and enjoy the ride.

“Volvo’s development of the Scalable Product Architecture allows us to innovate and quickly bring concepts to production when the market is ready,” said Lex Kerssemakers, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. “Volvo Concept 26 is a clear step towards rethinking how people want to use their cars today and in the future.”

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