Volkswagen’s Concept AV ‘Alternative to Short-Haul’

Volkswagen has unveiled a radical concept autonomous vehicle as its vision of future mobility solutions.

Its all-electric “Innovation Experience Vehicle” is a working prototype claiming Level 5 autonomous driving capabilities. The Gen.Travel concept boasts a modular interior for flexible accommodation for use as a sustainable mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) alternative to short-haul air flights. As a research vehicle, the purpose of the concept is to test new functionalities for customer response. Based on the study results, individual features may later be transferred to series vehicles.

Depending on its selected interior configuration, up to four people can be transported in the concept vehicle. For business trips, the conference setup with four comfort seats and a large table in the middle of the interior provides relaxed surroundings. Dynamic lighting creates a working environment and avoids the danger of kinetosis or motion sickness. A configuration in the overnight setup allows the conversion of two seats into two beds that can be folded out to a fully flat position.

There’s also a passenger safety restraint system working even in a lying position. The concept’s lighting system influences melatonin production to help passengers fall asleep and wake up naturally. For family trips, front seats can be configured to entertain the children using augmented reality. The interior is light, with a natural design. All human- machine interface elements are produced using sustainable materials, combined with recycled or natural materials.

Outside the car’s exterior is divided into two parts: The transparent, glass cabin is incorporated into the lower section, which houses all the technical features. The edge of the window is at waist level to maximize the view of the outside. At the same time, when passengers are lying down flat in the car, they do not experience any external influences. The wing doors of the concept help better entry and exit as seen in existing vehicles from other automakers.

Active suspension calculates vertical and lateral movements such as acceleration, braking, or cornering ahead of time, and aids the driving style and trajectory. Artificial intelligence and platooning technology with other Avs are used to further increase the range for long-distance journeys.

Dr Nikolai Ardey, head of Volkswagen Group Innovation, said: “With its New Auto strategy, Volkswagen defines the mobility for generations to come – sustainable and digital. In the group-wide Volkswagen Innovation Research department, we are further advancing this idea, showing how our customers will be able to experience mobility in the future, for example, as a service. With Gen.Travel, we can already experience today what will be possible in the near future with innovative technology. Door-to-door travel at a new level. Emission-free and stress-free.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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