Riding in the car can be extremely conducive to sleep for people, sometimes even when they’re driving. Falling asleep while driving though is not recommended. However, in Volkswagen’s new autonomous, self-driving prototype, there’s no driving necessary and the vehicle is actually designed to help you nod off.
The company’s recently unveiled prototype, GEN.TRAVEL, is less like a car you drive and more like an airplane that stays on the ground and doesn’t need a pilot. Volkswagen envisions the vehicle as a step toward mobility-as-a-service and a replacement for short flights. And the modular interior is designed so sleeping in the car will be much more comfortable than resting your head against a rattling window.
The GEN.TRAVEL has a modular interior concept that can be customized to overnight settings that include two fully reclining seats. The vehicle even includes a passenger restraint system to keep you safe even when lying down and a lighting system that “influences melatonin production to help passengers fall asleep and wake up naturally.” Basically, it’s a four-wheeled version of the gummies I eat before bedtime.
The GEN.TRAVEL isn’t just for moving sleeping people around. Volkswagen sees it being used for business trips, with a conference setup with four seats and a large table in the middle, and for family trips, with front seats that can be configured to entertain the children using augmented reality.
In case the thought of doing a lot of stuff other than driving in a moving vehicle makes you feel queasy, Volkswagen promises that the prototype’s dynamic lighting will help minimize the effects of motion sickness. GEN.TRAVEL also includes a technology called electric Active Body Control that calculates actions like acceleration, braking or cornering before they happen and adjusts the driving style and trajectory accordingly.
If the GEN.TRAVEL prototype can really evolve into a viable alternative to short flights, just imagine how much nicer it will be to have a car pick you up and let you sleep all the way to your destination instead of ever setting foot in an airport again.