Volvo: Self-driving Cars Will Compete With Air Travel

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Volvo showed off its latest autonomous-car design, the 360c, at a recent auto show in Los Angeles, and noted that the fully self-driving vehicle, expected to be ready in 2021, would compete not only with other automobiles, but with short-haul aviation options. “Several busy domestic air routes, such as New York to Washington D.C., Houston to Dallas and Los Angeles to San Diego, are more time-consuming by air than by car when including things such as travel to the airport, security checks and waiting times,” Volvo noted in a news release. The car will come in several versions—a sleeping pod, mobile office, living room and entertainment space—enabling travelers to spend their time en route as they wish.

“Domestic air travel sounds great when you buy your ticket, but it really isn’t,” said Marten Levenstam, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Volvo Cars. “The 360c represents what could be a whole new take on the industry. The sleeping cabin allows you to enjoy premium comfort and peaceful travel through the night and wake up refreshed at your destination. It could enable us to compete with the world’s leading aircraft makers.” The 360c “represents a potentially lucrative competitor to short-haul air travel, a multibillion-dollar industry comprising airlines, aircraft makers and other service providers,” the company said.