Your Volvo Car Could Be Your Mailbox
Volvo owners will be informed, via their smartphone, when a delivery company wants to drop off or pick up something from the car.
Auto shows are great for getting a glimpse into the future of the car market but, unfortunately, the coolest, most imaginative, most innovative concepts and designs often remain on the drawing board. Indeed, the automotive industry is a tough business and there’s only a small segment of the market willing or able to splurge on limited-production ultra-luxury cars. So, here are six futuristic concept cars we wish we could buy right now.
The ultimate litmus test for whether or not you’re living in the future is whether or not there are flying cars zipping through the skies. Well, here’s some good news: We’re getting really close. The TF-X from Terrafugia (pictured) will be a street legal plug-in hybrid car that has collapsible wings, retractable propellers, and is capable of driving and flying on its own in the event of an emergency.
Let’s face it: Electric cars are the future. There will, inevitably, be a time in which fossil fuels are too expensive and precious to waste on grocery store runs. In the meantime, however, super-efficient gas-powered vehicles will be a trend. And this is one trend that can’t catch on soon enough.
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Sure, steampunk has become a popular aesthetic amongst sci-fi aficionados, but could steam-powered cars really play a role in the future of transportation? It’s a long shot, but in a future where efficiency and fuel conservation are primary concerns, odd alternatives like steam could play a role.
Smartphone on Wheels
Increasingly, car companies are working to close the gap between the technology on the road and the technology in our pockets—but they still have a long way to go. Concepts like the Toyota Fun-Vii, however, show a glimmer of that interactive, intelligent, driving future.
Everyone loves the growl of a powerful super car, but we all have to admit that one design does not suit every application. Life in a city, or habitual short-trip driving demands a very different vehicle than, certainly, the race track. This growing use case presents different requirements, though, than even the majority of sedans. Microcars are a smart solution to these real-world problems.
Swedish auto maker Volvo said it was developing a system to enable online shopping deliveries direct to customers' cars rather than their homes. The company said it had created a single-use digital key which postal or delivery services can use to locate a vehicle and open it.
The system "will allow consumers to have shopping delivered straight to their car, no matter where they are," the company said in a statement.
"Via a smartphone or a tablet, the owner will be informed when a delivery company wants to drop off or pick up something from the car," they added.
The owner of the car then accepts the delivery and can track when the car is opened. The technology would provide a solution for people who are on the move and need to receive deliveries away from their home or office.
The company said failed deliveries cost courier companies around one billion euros (US $1.37 billion) in re-delivery costs each year.
"The technology was trialled during a pilot program of 100 people, 86 percent of which agreed that 'roam delivery' saved them time," Volvo said. "The future car will be much more than just a means of transportation."
Volvo will present the new technology at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 24-25, but has not set a launch date for clients.
"We are in talks with different partners," innovation manager Johan Maresch said.
Chinese-owned Volvo is attempting to move into the high-end auto segment, to join brands such as Audi or BMW, as well as position itself as one of the most innovative in the market.
It has promised to put the first self-driving cars on Swedish roads in 2017 and pledged that nobody will be injured on the road in Volvo cars from 2020.