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MM Blog: A ‘Carfotainment’ System For Volvo's Autonomous Future

A look at Volvo’s vision for what commuters will do while the car is driving itself.

Quite a handful of tech companies and just about every major carmaker are currently creating their take on a driverless future. But if humans don’t need to keep their eyes on the road, what will they be doing with their commute time? The new buzz word in automotive might be “Carfotainment” — and that’s where Volvo’s Concept 26 comes in by integrating an infotainment experience across the vehicle for bored commuters.  

Volvo is working with Swedish telecom provider Ericsson to build smarter streaming technologies specifically for autonomous cars. Unlike other autonomous concepts like Mercedes F 015 that allows all seats to face each other for conversation, Concept 26 — named after the average commute time — is focused on a single person in a car commuting to work.

One of the key parts of Concept 26 is an enormous video screen that flips up from the passenger side dashboard. The Swedish carmaker thinks many drivers will want to sit back, relax and enjoy some Netflix during their commute.

Volvo’s envisions three different modes. First there is the normal “Drive” mode with the car in full manual mode — which is what we have now. The “Create” mode retracts the steering wheel, slides the seat back, and opens a 25-inch flat-screen monitor from the passenger-side dashboard. A touchscreen in the center console slides back with the driver, maintaining access to all car functions like navigation and seating position, as well as giving control of the large monitor. Finally, there’s "Relax" mode that reclines the seat even further and lets the driver watch TV or simply sit back and well… relax.


With autonomous vehicles coming down the pipeline, do you think there will be greater emphasize on the “in-car” experience? If so, how do you see it affecting the auto industry?

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