A look into the future: a car that has no steering wheel and can replace an airplane


Volkswagen’s concept is called GEN.TRAVEL, and it’s a project that tries to become a vehicle solution that can replace airplanes for short trips.

As time passed, the concept car has undergone changes motivated by various reasons, which deeply affected its initial essence. There have been changes due to alliances between brandsothers because of we need to be more efficient without losing habitability, and others directly related to the arrival of technology.

Suddenly, which was only a means of transport with certain features of equipment and mechanics, it has become a good much more expensiveHas become the enemy of the environment and lost its own form adopt standard profiles which ensured the choice of the majority of users.

Today, it is normal to confuse models from different brands. To identify them, many people have to resort to looking for the logo or badge on the grille or rear wing, and even then, once recognized, many are again unidentifiable from a distance. One of the big losses for many brands has been the trunk identity. Grille and headlight design changes left behind years of style in many cases, in the name of modernism.

Gullwing doors allow better access to the cabin
Gullwing doors allow better access to the cabin

For this reason, with the excuse of the electric car as a reason to create a new generation, classic and meaningful shapes and designs are beginning to be recovered that the industry had in another time, in order to recover this identity camouflaged among the crowd.

Those who think about the cars of the future are clear on these questionsand since concept projects are stylistic trials that don’t require those limitations that an engineering department usually imposes on designers, interesting ideas emerge, where form reclaims some lost ground.

Volkswagen just presented a very interesting concept car which they called GEN.TRAVELand which corresponds to the category of fully autonomous electric cars, which currently does not exist anywhere in the world, neither by development nor by legislation.

Without steering wheel or pedals, with two or four seats depending on the layout you want to offer users
Without steering wheel or pedals, with two or four seats depending on the layout you want to offer users

It’s a combination of a sedan and a minivan that takes advantage of every square centimeter of surface to integrate it into a spacious cabin. Inside this cabin, its great versatility allows it to become without too many movements in a meeting room with four seats facing each other or in a room for two occupants.

When choosing a place to rest, the car has calibrated lighting to influence the production of melatonin to help passengers rest, and at the same time wake up naturally. One of the big problems with reclining seats is the restraint systems, and VW has taken this into account, because when fully reclined the seat belts continue to hold the passenger’s body even in a horizontal position.

To facilitate access, doors open with gull wing system and be a vehicle independent level 5 (which is conducted without human intervention), It has no steering wheel or pedals. but only a joystick type control.

The design of the VW GEN.TRAVEL recovers its own forms, something that has been lost in the industry in general over the last decades
The design of the VW GEN.TRAVEL recovers its own forms, something that has been lost in the industry in general over the last decades

Externally, Volkswagen was commissioned to design an identifiable form. Seen in profile, this is when his particular style is most noticeable, with a sort of glazed cabin on a platform. The front and rear windows are not very large, unlike the side windows, and the explanation lies in autonomous driving, for which passengers are just that, passengers and no one has to pay attention to the road.

Technologically, a system of active suspension connected to GPSallows the TRIP GEN. read the road before driving it, in order to be able to predict curves or unevenness and program the hardness and reaction of the elastic devices, so that the occupants do not notice the qualities of the ground.

The idea with which the project was conceived is to realize a “Innovation Experience Vehicle” (IEV), predicting how long-distance mobility might change over the next decade. The concept is to provide an alternative to airplanes for short flights.

The Volvo 360c was introduced last year as a similar idea to the VW GEN.TRAVEL.  A car that adapts to be a meeting room or a break room for an overnight trip
The Volvo 360c was introduced last year as a similar idea to the VW GEN.TRAVEL. A car that adapts to be a meeting room or a break room for an overnight trip

It’s not a new idea. One year ago, Volvo introduced a fairly similar vehicle in terms of utility, the 360cwhich does not have the shape as bold as the Volkswagen, but is developed as a means of Alternative transport to that of the plane for a journey of up to 5 hours. The argument is that, given the time it takes to get to an airport, board, fly, get off and reach the destination, an autonomous vehicle that has sufficient comfort and range could take the same time without as much hassle or paperwork.

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