VW’s latest concept is a self-driving travel pod that can replace short flights

Many automakers dream of self-driving cars that are effectively lounges on wheels, but VW is taking it a step further. The brand has unveiled a Gen.Travel “design study” EV which it hopes can replace short flights. The four-person travel pod would be fully autonomous (i.e. SAE Level 5) and revolves around a modular interior that can be customized for each voyage. Business people could work at a conference table during a ride, while red-eyed travelers could use two seats that convert into beds.

The Gen.Travel could also be more comfortable than some nicer airline seats. Dynamic lighting would not only help maintain natural sleep cycles but also reduce motion sickness. A front-seat configuration could entertain kids (and let’s face it, adults) with augmented reality. While the bubble-like cabin is built to maximize your outside view, it promises both safety and isolation for sleeping passengers.

VW Gen.Travel interior for business


VW didn’t outline the performance. However, a combination of AI and platooning (automated driving in columns) could increase the range, it said.

This is a research project designed to test driverless pods as “mobility-as-a-service” options. You will probably never sit in the Gen.Travel. It’s a true prototype, though, and VW says features could find their way into production cars. We wouldn’t expect all of them to reach the self-driving machines that VW is projected to make by 2025, but don’t be surprised if future robotaxis seem very familiar.

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