Depending on your definition of a car, the Volkswagen Gen.Travel might not fall into that category due to its lack of a steering wheel. This isn't one of those wacky concepts with a steering wheel that folds once you turn on the autonomous driving mode as it has been imagined only for driverless trips. Its body style is peculiar since VW says it blurs the line between a saloon and a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) aka a minivan in layman's terms.
The Gen.Travel hasn't been envisioned as a car the regular folk can buy but rather as a mobility service you can rent. VW calls it an "Innovation Experience Vehicle (IEV)" to preview how long-distance mobility will change in the next decade. It's seen as an alternative to hopping into an aeroplane for a short flight, which tells us it has a battery pack big enough for extended journeys (by car travelling standards).
Volkswagen Gen.Travel Design Study
Utmost comfort is guaranteed by an active suspension dubbed electric Active Body Control (eABC) that calculates lateral and vertical movements like cornering, accelerating, and braking ahead of time to automatically optimise the "driving" style and trajectory. With help from artificial intelligence, VW sees a future in which fully autonomous platooning – a group of vehicles driven together – will be possible to maximise range by driving as efficiently as possible.
As for the Gen.Travel itself, the design study features massive gullwing doors providing access to the cozy cabin not obstructed by B-pillars. The seats fold completely flat, so you'll be able to get some rest while the car does all the driving for you. Alternatively, a business specification of the cabin shows room for four people with face-to-face seating and a worktable. A generous greenhouse with large side windows and a massive glass roof makes the interior feel airy, albeit we'll admit the body's shape isn’t the sleekest.
It doesn't seem to have any VW badges inside or out, but that’s likely because Gen.Travel represents the entire Volkswagen Group rather than only the core brand. The Level 5 autonomous design study will make its public debut on September 24 during the Chantilly Arts & Elegance event near Paris. While a production version is not happening anytime soon, the German marque says some features might eventually trickle down to a series vehicle.