The Volkswagen concept gives a preview of tomorrow’s driverless rental pods

Volkswagen has come up with a radical concept that hints at a future where Mobility-as-a-Service vehicles will drive themselves.

The Volkswagen Gen.Travel concept is a design study – and a real prototype – that “gives a realistic outlook on mobility for the coming decade”.

Aspects of the concept are “planned to be carried over to production vehicles,” Volkswagen added, meaning future road cars.

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delivered Recognition: car expert

This far-fetched concept is partly a promotional effort, as the Volkswagen Group is set to unveil its latest autonomous driving research vehicle at Chantilly Arts & Elegance this week.

It previews a customizable interior ideal for planned future Level 5 autonomous vehicles to be booked for occasional use.

The transparent glass cabin supports the view outside, the wing doors make it easier to get in and out.

delivered Recognition: car expert

“The car’s modular interior concept makes it a flexible and sustainable Mobility-as-a-Service alternative to short-haul flights,” says Volkswagen. Or trains?

For business trips, there’s the conference facility with four comfortable seats and a center table, while dynamic lighting is designed to alleviate motion sickness or motion sickness.

Meanwhile, an overnight setup configuration allows for the conversion of two seats into two beds, like a business class airplane seat.

delivered Recognition: car expert

Volkswagen claims a new occupant restraint system ensures safety even when lying down, this time the lighting system affects the body’s melatonin production.

For family outings, there’s an in-car entertainment system with augmented reality capabilities, details on which are scarce.

The concept also has an electric Active Body Control chassis that calculates vertical and lateral movements such as acceleration, braking or cornering in advance and optimizes the vehicle’s driving style and trajectory accordingly.

delivered Recognition: car expert

Artificial intelligence and platooning – fully autonomous driving in convoys – have been taken into account in order to further increase the range for long-distance journeys, Volkswagen adds.

Head of Volkswagen Group Design, Klaus Zyciora, says the concept “offers us a glimpse of the future of travel.”

“It shows us what autonomous driving will look like in the future. The Gen-Travel embodies the visionary design of the day after tomorrow for the mobility of tomorrow,” he added.

delivered Recognition: car expert

“Efficient shaping characterizes the extremely striking design. In this age of technical perfection and almost unlimited possibilities, “form follows function” becomes “form follows freedom”. The automobile is not only getting better, but also more exciting than ever.”

It’s probably in the eye of the beholder… The Volkswagen concept gives a preview of tomorrow’s driverless rental pods

James Brien

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