Since the inception of the automobile, nothing major has changed as we still use cars driven by engines and controlled by humans. Yes, EVs are starting to become more and more popular and the current in-car technology sometimes feels like magic. However, autonomous cars are likely going to be the biggest revolution in the car industry.
Many brands these days are creating what they believe will be the best version of a car in a few decades. VW has recently come out with the Gen.Travel concept car which lets you sleep while the car is taking you to your destination. As such, the topic of this article is all about fully autonomous EV that lets passengers sleep horizontally.
However, the VW Gen.Travel is not the only car that lets you sleep as NIO and Volvo also came out with their own ideas. We are going to introduce you to the world of sleeping in fully autonomous electric cars of the future, so be sure to read the article to find out what awaits us in the coming decades.
It’s worth mentioning that cars such as these are now only in concept form and thus can’t be bought or legally driven anywhere around the world. Be that as it may, most experts believe that the future is just around the corner.
1. Volkswagen Gen.Travel
A few days ago, Volkswagen treated us with the very first look and in-depth experience of the brand-new VW Gen.Travel Concept car. This futuristic creation is designed to let you relax while it does all the work. Equipped with a huge battery, this car should be able to take you on long-distance journeys, and yes, you can relax and sleep in it horizontally.
The whole purpose of this car is to showcase how we can completely change our driving experience as this car does not require a driver at all. VW believes that these cars are not going to be bought, but rather rented. VW also hopes that cars such as these will completely eliminate the need for short-distance flying.
2. Nio Eve
VW is not actually the first brand to come out with this idea as the Nio Eve project was first introduced as early as 2015. It took quite a few years before Nio showed the “finished” car in the flesh, and the idea is to let you sleep while this Level 5 autonomy concept car takes you wherever you need to go.
It’s worth mentioning that there aren’t as many technical details about the Eve as with the Gen.Travel which means that this is not as functional in practice. Either way, the interior of the Eve is completely modular as it enables you to alter the seating area and make yourself a nice cushiony bed.
3. Volvo 360c
If you want to maximize comfort, luxury, and safety in the future, you are going to be pleased to know that Volvo also has a car to fill this void, it is called the Volvo 360c. The 360c is arguably the coolest-looking car out of the three, and is also the one that did a whole load of testing and is sometimes seen being tested on public roads.
The 360c comes in three distinct variations, a luxury model equipped with all sorts of gadgets, a work-oriented model equipped with a meeting workspace where you can do your meeting while on the move, and a sleep variant in which you can lay down horizontally and sleep while your 360c takes you to your final destination.
Are fully autonomous cars in which you can sleep available?
Cars such as these are concept cars which means that they are test beds for future iterations and thus aren’t available for purchase. The fact of the matter is that these cars aren’t going to be available for a long time because making a fully autonomous Level 5 car with all the functionalities and safety guarantees requires a complete overhaul of the existing traffic system.
Many automakers state that some cars are already equipped with all the necessary hardware and software features. It is not yet legal or functionally possible to introduce these cars to the existing traffic as that can be a huge safety hazard.
Many questions need to be answered, and many problems that need to be solved before these are allowed on public roads.
What is the current level of autonomous cars?
We can confidently state that we are somewhere in the middle between Level 0 and Level 3 of autonomy. Most cars out there are still Level 0 which means that these cars have no automation whatsoever. This does not mean that these cars can’t have certain ADAS features such as AEB, ESP, lane keep assist, or blind spot assist as these are only alert systems, not automation systems.
The most advanced cars on public roads these days are at a Level 3 of autonomy which means that a car can perform virtually all driving tasks in a specific environment, but a human is still tasked to override in most situations.
What are the most difficult challenges for a self-driving car?
The first problem is that most companies these days are developing their own systems and thus aren’t working together to standardize the technology which slows down the overall progress. As there are many differences between these systems, it is extremely difficult for these cars to work together at the same level of communication, safety, and efficiency.
Other major issues include the possibility of hacking a fully autonomous car over-air and taking full control of a car remotely. Road conditions differ substantially and this means that the system needs to be able to adapt to all sorts of roads which is almost impossible given the current infrastructure in some areas.
The weather itself can play a massive role, and so can radar interference and certain traffic conditions. Arguably the most challenging aspect is accident liability and situations in which the car is faced with difficult decisions in many unpredictable situations where human lives are going to be at stake.