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Volkswagen concept previews driverless rental pods tomorrow

Volkswagen has come up with a radical concept designed to preview a future in which vehicles travel as a self-driving service.

The Volkswagen Gen.Travel concept is a design study – and a true prototype – it says “offers a realistic outlook for the next decade’s mobility”.

Aspects of the concept are expected to be “transferred to series vehicles”, Volkswagen added, which means future road cars.

This far-fetched concept is partly a publicity exercise, with the Volkswagen Group unveiling its latest autonomous driving research vehicle at Chantilly Arts & Elegance this week.

It previews a customizable interior, ideal for future Level 5 autonomous vehicles that will be reserved for future occasional use where car sharing is more common.

The transparent glass cabin enhances outside visibility and the wing doors make it easier to get in and out.

“The vehicle’s modular interior concept makes it a versatile and sustainable alternative to short-haul flights,” Volkswagen said. Or train?

For business trips, there’s a conference setup with four comfortable chairs and a table in the middle, while dynamic lighting is designed to minimize motion sickness or motion sickness.

Meanwhile, a configuration in the overnight setup allows the two seats to be converted into two beds, just like business class airline seats.

Volkswagen claims a new passenger restraint system ensures safety even for those who are lying down, while this time the lighting system affects your body’s melatonin production.

For family trips, there is an in-car entertainment system that uses augmented reality features, details of which are scarce.

The concept also features an Electrically Active Body Control suspension that calculates vertical and horizontal movements such as acceleration, braking or cornering ahead of time, and optimizes the vehicle’s trajectory and driving style for Fit.

Volkswagen adds that artificial intelligence and zoning – fully autonomous driving in convoys – have been introduced to increase range for long-distance journeys.

Volkswagen Group Design Head Klaus Zyciora said the concept “gives us a glimpse of the journey of the future”.

“It shows us what autonomous driving will be like in the future. Gen-Travel embodies design that is more visionary for the mobility of tomorrow,” he added.

“Effective shaping is the hallmark of extremely distinctive design. Thus, in an age of technical perfection and virtually unlimited possibilities, ‘form follows function’ becomes ‘form conforms to freedom’. The car will not only be better, but more exciting than ever.”

It was probably in the eyes of the handler…

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