2015 LA Auto Show: Volvo pushes forward autonomous revolution with Concept 26

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 23, 2015

2015 Los Angeles Auto Show has been abuzz with new concept cars from various auto makers. One of these concepts is the Volvo Concept 26 from Volvo Cars. Autonomy is at the center of the Volvo Concept 26’s design. It’s also very distinctive at its class, being the first autonomous car to be designed around an existing platform.

The product of extensive research that aimed to understand how people want to benefit from autonomous driving, the Volvo Concept 26 is an attempt to embody the findings of that study. There are several options available when it comes to the interiors of the car, all of them designed to capitalize on people’s expectations on autonomous cars.

Volvo Cars also combined these configurations with today’s technologies and trendy features. The result is a concept car that’s poised to give drivers a unique experience in driving as a whole.

According to Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz, General Manager of the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center where R&D on the concept car was carried out, Volvo Concept 26 is designed to allow drivers to continue to experience the joys of driving on the open road while giving him or her options to deal with the stresses of daily commute, including traffic jams.

Tylman-Mikiewicz indicated that Concept 26 has always been about giving drivers the freedom to manage their time in the car according to their preferences. Instead of just being stuck in traffic without nothing else to do but to wait, Concept 26 will give drivers the environment and the means to make more meaningful use of that time instead of being idle.

Autonomous driving in traffic-congested areas could allow drivers, for instance, to catch up with work or prepare more for an upcoming meeting while the car handles the driving during rush hour in metropolitan areas.

The Concept 26 features a new seat design that has already been patented, and has three configurations that the driver can choose from. The interiors, which feature a tablet interface in the center console with a 25-inch flat screen monitor as well as a foldable tray table, physically change its configuration in response to the chosen mode.

The first, and default, mode is Drive. Drive lets you manually take control of the car for yourself, while the system works to minimize any distraction to you so you can fully experience the joys of driving. This is great for open roads.

Create mode is based on the results of Volvo’s research looking into what drivers want to do to maximize their team even while driving. When Concept 26 is configured for Create Mode, drivers can relegate the task of driving to the car.

They can then turn their attention to configuring the seat and dashboard to allow them to do certain tasks comfortably, like working on a project, reading emails or watching multimedia content. Of course, they retain overall control on the driving and can take over anytime.

The last mode is Relax, which Volvo has designed as an answer to people’s needs to reclaim time lost in traffic jams. In Relax mode, drivers can sit back and rest as the seat reclined into a comfortable setting.

The passenger dashboard screen will also suggest content that the driver can consume while relaxing. Finally, Relax mode does what its name suggests: allow the driver to just rest and do nothing while the ride progresses.

Volvo Concept 26 is, of course, still a work in progress. Volvo is currently hard at work in developing the concept with its existing partners. At the same time, it is also calling on potential partners to help out in finding ways to give drivers the best experience in any of the three modes in the concept car.

Concept 26 is indicative of Volvo’s commitment to keep people at the center of any technological research or advancements that it works on. More information about the concept car will be released by Volvo when they become available.

In the meantime, consumers can talk about autonomous driving and assist Volvo in the research and development by posting their views and opinions on the budding technology via www.futureofdriving.com.

Press Release


Volvo Cars unveiled Volvo Concept 26, an interior design concept and innovation platform for autonomous driving vehicles at the 2015 Los Angeles Motor Show.

Volvo Concept 26 represents a new way of thinking about how luxury autonomous cars will integrate into daily life. A result of extensive research on how people want to use autonomous driving and their time behind the wheel, Volvo Concept 26 provides various interior configurations that combine today’s needs with emerging trends and technologies to create a new experience when drivers no longer need to focus on the driving task. It is the first autonomous drive interior that is built on a vehicle platform available for sale today.

“Volvo Concept 26 addresses the notion that driving can still be fun and liberating on the right day and on the right road but that some parts of driving, notably the daily commute in many metro areas, is stressful, frustrating and even broken. By providing drivers the choice of when to drive or delegate driving, we are able to retain the love and freedom of the open road while fixing the broken commute,” said Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz, General Manager of the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center, the Volvo design center where Concept 26 was researched and developed.

Research conducted by Volvo shows that drivers could reclaim a significant amount of time from their daily commute, and make that time more meaningful, when given an environment to do what they wish. In the United States many drivers could regain an average of 26 additional minutes for each commute and several hundred hours per year. In large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles or New York, the time gained could be considerably more. In essence, Volvos equipped with Volvo Concept 26 will truly be “time machines”.

“Concept 26 allows drivers to use their time in ways never before possible in a car” added Tylman-Mikiewicz.

The concept is built around a patented and revolutionary new seat design that cradles the driver at all times and through the transformation between the different modes. Together with a tablet interface in the center console, a foldable tray table and a 25-inch flat-screen monitor that flips up from the passenger side dashboard, Concept 26 provides three interior modes: Drive, Create and Relax. Each mode offers a unique arrangement for drivers to maximize what they can do with their time while the car is in autonomous mode.

Drive: This mode provides you with a great driving experience and minimizes driver distraction while driving manually. A true celebration of driving people love.
Create: Volvo research indicated a variety of activities drivers wish they could do behind the wheel safely when they no longer need to focus on the driving task. Create mode allows for a variety of configurations of the seat, table and screens enabling the driver to complete a range of activities, such as reading, working on your next big project, or consuming media and other online content whilst the car takes care of the driving – always providing the driver with overall control.
Relax: More than anything, a Volvo customer’s most valuable asset is their time. They seek experiences and products that allow them to recapture this time and make it meaningful. Concept 26 features a relax mode that transforms the seat into a comfortable reclining position. The vehicle can also curate and suggest content to the driver via the passenger dashboard mounted screen. Of course, sometimes the largest luxury of all is to just simply do nothing, relax and enjoy the ride.
With these three modes as a baseline, Volvo Concept 26 creates a new autonomous drive innovation platform that can adapt to new needs and technologies over time. The company is working with several partners, and invites others to join, in creating the best space for consuming media, interacting with devices or relaxing.

Volvo Concept 26 development was based on the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). It is one of the first Autonomous Drive concepts that is built on a product platform available to buy today.

“Volvo’s development of the Scalable Product Architecture allows us to innovate and quickly bring concepts to production when the market is ready,” said Lex Kerssemakers, President and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, “Volvo Concept 26 is a clear step towards rethinking how people want to use their cars today and in the future.”

As a company that prides itself in putting people at the center of innovation, Volvo is now leading the largest consumer conversation about autonomous drive at www.futureofdriving.com. Drivers from around the world are encouraged to visit and share their views of autonomous driving, which will help guide the future development in this area by Volvo Cars. Volvo will also continuously release more information about Concept 26 and other exciting products that will radically improve people’s commutes on this site.

More information about Volvo’s autonomous drive initiatives and the DriveMe project, where the company will put 100 customers in autonomous driving cars in 2017, can be found at www.volvocars.com/autopilot.


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