Volvo’s vision for the future puts you in this private first-class transport pod

No more expensive parking. No more security lines. No more delayed flights. No more screaming children.

Volvo envisions a future where motorists travel in private, business-class-like pods instead of flying. The Swedish firm has introduced an innovative concept car named 360c that sheds insight into how autonomous driving technology can replace many domestic short-haul flights.

The 360c concept looks like a car in the sense that it has lights, wheels, and bumpers on both ends. Everything else comes right out of the next century.

“We do not know what the future of autonomous drive will hold, but it will have a profound impact on how people travel …”

The top part of it is made almost entirely of tinted glass to give the passengers an unobstructed view of the world around them. It’s hardly recognizable as a Volvo product; only styling cues like the curved rear panel create a visual link to current members of the company’s lineup like the XC40 and the V90 Cross Country.

Volvo stresses the 360c is autonomous and electric. It’s designed to be software-driven 100 percent of the time, meaning there is no need for a steering wheel, pedals, or a dashboard. Its electric powertrain is more compact than a comparable gasoline-powered unit so designers carved out a generous amount of space in a relatively restrained footprint. This yields a modular interior that can be configured as a high-tech meeting room with a motion-controlled presentation board, a relaxing living room with book shelves, an entertainment space with a built-in champagne cooler, or a cozy bedroom with a mini closet.

The last configuration opens up the possibility of traveling overnight instead of flying. Users can conceivably get in the car, enter a destination, and fall asleep until they reach it. The 360c drives itself smoothly and quietly. Volvo adds it even designed a special safety blanket that restrains the occupant like a three-point seatbelt in the event of a collision.

“The sleeping cabin allows you to enjoy premium comfort and peaceful travel through the night and wake up refreshed at your destination. It could enable us to compete with the world’s leading aircraft makers,” explained Mårten Levenstam, the company’s senior vice president of corporate strategy, in a statement.

Make no mistake: the 360c is a look into the distant future of transportation. It’s not what you’ll be commuting in a year from now; there are still several legal and technical questions to answer before a concept like this becomes a mass-produced reality. Technology progresses at a rapid pace, however, and it’s not too far-fetched to imagine vehicles like the 360c transporting passengers on short routes like New York City to Washington DC or Los Angeles to San Diego.

When? That’s a good question; Volvo hopes its newest concept will start the conversation.

“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. We regard the 360c as a conversation starter, with more ideas and answers to come as we learn more,” Levenstam explained.

Volvo notably wants to start the conversation about the types of interaction autonomous cars should have with the human-driven ones they’ll need to share the road with. The 360c emits visual and audible signals to tell other drivers and pedestrians what it’s about to do. The firm notes that, significantly, the concept makes its own intentions clear without giving orders to other self-driving cars or human drivers. Preliminary research shows that’s the safest way for autonomous cars to communicate with fellow road users.

Home Theater

Polk Audio’s Command Bar joins Alexa’s multiroom music party

Polk's Command Bar is a home theater soundbar with Alexa built in. But with a new update, it can also be grouped with Amazon's Echo products and other third-party speakers for a multi-room experience.
Cars

Ride with Batman, thanks to Intel and Warner Bros.’ car entertainment system

Instead of driving a car yourself in the future, you could kick back and read Batman comics as the vehicle drives you autonomously. That's the concept introduced by a Dark Knight-themed concept car at CES 2019.
Computing

LG’s Neo Art is a grab-and-go monitor that follows you wherever you go

If you're looking for a portable 27-inch monitor that you can easily grab from your desk and take into another room, then LG might have the perfect product for you at CES 2019 — or at least an exciting concept — with the Neo Art.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Cars

The 8-seat, 3-row 2020 Telluride SUV is the biggest Kia ever

It's fitting that the 2020 Kia Telluride debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, as it was built specifically to meet U.S. buyers' insatiable demand for SUVs. Kia packed the eight-seat cabin with family-friendly tech as well.
Cars

Cadillac is finally ready to take on Tesla with its own electric car

At the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, Cadillac announced plans for its first electric car. The unnamed model will be a crossover, based on a new platform to be shared with other General Motors brands.
Cars

Peloton’s tech lets truckers play follow the leader to boost fuel economy

Peloton Technology can help semi trucks save fuel by running close together on the highway. Using short-range wireless communications, the trucks get a kind of super cruise control.
Cars

Move mountains with the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty and its 1,000 pound-feet of torque

Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck boasts 1,000 pound-feet of torque -- outgunning rival trucks from Ford and Chevrolet. The new Ram goes on sale later this year.
Cars

With 341 horsepower, the WRX STI S209 is the most powerful Subaru ever

The Subaru WRX STI S209 is the latest in a series of special editions that have never been sold in the United States before. The 341-horsepower pocket rocket debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars

China’s GAC Motor cruises into Detroit with all-electric Entranze concept

Chinese automaker GAC Motor brought its all-electric Entranze concept to the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. This is the third straight year that GAC has appeared in Detroit, and the company has established a design center in California.
Cars

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars

Some of Volkswagen’s electric models will wear a ‘Made in the USA’ label

Confirming earlier rumors, Volkswagen has announced it will build electric cars in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory. The facility currently produces the Passat and the Atlas. Production will start in 2023, Digital Trends can reveal.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.
Cars

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.