Volkswagen Envisions Self-Driving Pods Taking Over Short-Haul Flights In Future


Image Volkswagen


Volkswagen is looking to steer the future of the travel industry with the introduction of a self-driving pod intended to bring what the company states as “door-to-door” traveling. 
The ‘Gen.Travel concept is a fully autonomous (SAE level 5) vehicle that aims to be an eco-friendlier alternative to short-haul flights by lowering excessive carbon emissions. 


Image via Volkswagen


As the concept is merely a study on the future of self-driving cars in the service industry, we may never actually see this version of the pod hit the roads. Yet, one can’t help but be thrilled about the prospects it presented. 


The interior cabin has a modular design allowing it to be configured according to the user’s needs. For example, for business people traveling for work, a desk can be installed in the middle of the pod.


Image via Volkswagen


For those looking to catch up on some sleep, the table can be removed, and two single seats can be converted into beds that fold out full-flat. 


Ambient lighting in the pod can also be activated to generate melatonin to aid with sleep and relieve motion sickness for passengers confined in the cabin for hours on end. 


Image via Volkswagen


For entertainment, augmented reality display features can be enabled in the front seats. 


The car’s body is also designed with expansive windows that stretch down to the seated passengers’ waist level, providing unobstructed views of their surroundings. 


Image via Volkswagen


The Gen.Travel utilizes an eABC (electric Active Body Control) suspension, for calculating lateral and vertical movements of acceleration and braking ahead of time to optimize the drive trajectory. 


Volkswagen foresees deploying AI capabilities and platooning—fully autonomous driving in convoys— to further extend the range for lengthy trips.


Image via Volkswagen


[via Engadget and Volkswagen, images via Volkswagen]

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