Volvo Autonomous Driving Video Shows Audacious Vision for Self-Driving Cars
Volvo is collaborating with Chinese internet firm Baidu to create and produce autonomous cars in China, the two firms announced this week. It’s a major step in Volvo’s self-driving efforts, and a company video from September shows how the company is currently considering the future of autonomous driving.
The video, depicting the 360c concept, indicates some of Volvo’s ideas for future autonomy. The concept details how a car with a bed could replace air travel, if it’s the choice between a short-hop flight or jumping in a car and sleeping overnight to complete the journey, removing the need for travelers to worry about check-in and security procedures. Volvo envisions “ubiquitous” ownership solutions that reduce the need for everyone to own a car, citing car sharing and subscription services as two possible routes forward. The concept would reduce the need for city center parking, unlocking more space for homes and other uses.
The 360c vision outlines a “fully electric and fully autonomous” vehicle with a “standardized autonomous vehicle communication system that will enable other road users and autonomous vehicles to understand what the 360c is going to do next.” This is somewhat in line with the company’s plans with Baidu, with a goal of selling vehicles to consumers with level four autonomy on the Society of Automotive Engineers scale — equating to highly-autonomous cars limited by factors like geography (e.g. a single city) or severe weather.
It’s not the only concept Volvo has detailed. The company also released a video in September showing its plans for the Vera, an autonomous truck with no cabin at all that uses cloud services to reach its destination. Unlike the all-electric Tesla Semi designed for trips up to 500 miles when it launches next year, the Vera concept is aimed more at short shuttle trips between ports and low-speed operations.
It may not take long for Volvo and Baidu’s cars to hit the roads. The pair said in a statement they aim to kickstart “mass production of the autonomous cars over the next few years.”
That’s assuming Tesla doesn’t beat them to the punch.