So Volvo just dropped a new concept model which, by the looks of it, appears to quite an important one. The Volvo 360c Autonomous Concept is probably one of the closest things to the ‘car of the future‘ we have yet seen. And it comes with features that back that first impression.
As you would expect from the company that invented the three-point safety belt in 1959, Volvo 360c Autonomous Concept is mostly about safety. What else a self-driving car can be about, really? There is nothing to be said about handling, nor does it matter if it’s fast, because it follows the rules of the road by itself. It’s just how nice the interior is, and how safe your travels in it.
And in both those aspects Volvo 360c Autonomous Concept is at the top of the game. The interior with its unique shape looks very comfy for two people, although you can fit more in it. And as for safety, Volvo wants to set a number of universally applicable standards with this concept. The 360c makes use of a system “comprising external sounds, colours, visuals and movements, as well as combinations of these tools.” The goal of this system is to communicate with other road users the intentions of the self-driving car, so as to reduce and ultimately eliminate the chances of conflict. If this idea of theirs is successful, that means autonomous cars can be integrated in today’s traffic and mix with non-autonomous cars.
“We strongly believe this communication method should be a universal standard, so all road users can communicate easily with any autonomous car, regardless of which maker built it,” said Malin Ekholm, Vice President at the Volvo Cars Safety Centre. “But it is also important that we do not instruct others what to do next, in order to avoid potential confusion. Our research shows this is the safest way for fully autonomous cars to communicate with other road users.”