Auto Tech

Volvo unveils Concept 26 interior design study at Los Angeles

This interior-design concept is one of the first to be built on a current vehicle platform, showing that a bridge exists between the present and the future of mobility.

Don't want to drive? No problem! Just recline the seat and let the car take over while you get a little more work done.

Volvo

LOS ANGELES -- Volvo isn't using the 2015 LA Auto Show to show off its next big passenger car. Instead, the brand is aiming just a bit further down the road -- autonomous cars.

The automaker's using its time in California to debut the Concept 26, an interior-design study that gives us a hint at the sort of versatility we can expect from a car that can be both driven and not driven, depending on the driver's mood.

Concept 26 utilizes the Scalable Product Architecture platform that underpins the brand's all-new XC90 crossover, as well as several forthcoming Volvo cars, including an all-new flagship that should be appearing in the near future. Thus, it's not inconceivable to imagine that the meat and potatoes of this concept could appear on the market relatively soon, once autonomous technology allows for a truly driver-free experience.

Concept 26's Relax mode is all about taking your mind off the commute. Taking a nap might be a bit over the top, though.

Volvo

"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 stress, frustrating, and even broken," said Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz, general manager of the Volvo design center that built this concept.

The point of the concept is to show that a car's interior can be as versatile as the owner, moving between autonomy and piloted driving quickly, efficiently and, perhaps most importantly, using a great deal of current technology. It utilizes several components, including a tablet interface, a foldable tray table and a 25-inch monitor that hides in the passenger-side dashboard, to switch between three different interior arrangements: Drive, Create and Relax.

Volvo

Drive is pretty self-explanatory. The seats are arranged like a modern car, since the driver will remain in control of the vehicle. Create is all about getting work done, whether that's reading, consuming media or breaking out the laptop to finish up some last-minute PowerPoint slides.

Relax is all about enjoying the drive, with the driver's seat moving to a reclined position while the car's computer suggests different things to watch on the aforementioned 25-inch monitor.

Concept 26 is one of the first autonomous concepts to be designed with a current platform in mind. It acknowledges that there will be plenty of time between now and fully fledged self-driving cars where humans will desire a little bit of everything. Not everybody is keen to give up driving, and Volvo's design study reflects that.