Volvo revealed Concept 26 last November, their vision of autonomous cars’ cabins, complete with Drive, Create and Relax modes. But now the Swedish brand has declared that its driverless cars - expected to arrive in 2020 - will never be completely driverless, as they will always include a steering wheel.
CEO of Volvo North America, Lex Kerssemakers, has spoken out about this, saying that ‘Volvo does not believe in cars without steering wheels. We did a lot of research. Our customers are very interested in high-tech, but they also want to drive.’
But what autonomous vehicles offer is that choice to take a break, with Kerssemakers saying: ‘But if you don’t want to drive yourself, then you have the choice to push the button, like you have the choice to turn off the TV if you don’t like what is on TV.’
As cars on the roads become more and more autonomous, actual driving will become more of a novelty, with the driver taking the reins as and when they fancy, choosing to ‘Create’ and ‘Relax’ as they wish.
Kerssemakers also said ‘Will there still be a society in 2030 where everybody is just moving around and is very futuristic? There very well could be, but there is still a long time to go. There will be non-steering wheel cars, but they are just a means of transport between A and B, without any emotion or self-involvement.’
So with Volvo holding on to steering wheels, we’ll be able to continue feeling a connection with our cars as we drive at one with the road, yet benefit from the luxury of being able to shift our focus and make the most of autonomous technology.