Travel News

VW Gen.Travel Autonomous Concept Is So Ugly It’s Cute

  • The Volkswagen Gen.Travel concept is a battery-electric autonomous whose goal is to replace of short-haul flights.
  • This autonomous vehicle’s interior is modular and can be configured like a normal car or a small conference area, or it can have two seats fold flat.
  • Volkswagen didn’t mention range, but it’s current MEB platform can currently hit around 300 miles on a single charge.

    Volkswagen is showing it’s still interested in the autonomous future with the aptly named Gen.Travel concept. This futuristic vehicle eschews the traditional automotive layout and gives hope to people who want to travel in a real autonomous taxi somewhere down the line. Volkswagen also wants its concept to show that an autonomous taxi can fill the same role as a short-haul flight but with a smaller carbon footprint.

    As you’d expect from the concept’s name, this autonomous taxi sports a battery-electric drivetrain. The company doesn’t mention the powertrain specifically, but the Gen.Travel likely sits on VW’s current modular battery-electric platform, and judging by the platform’s currently available products, should have a range of around 300 miles—which puts it up to the task of handling shorter flight paths.

    Making this concept novel is the fact that VW says it’s targeting Level 5 autonomous transportation. That would mean that the vehicle is fully capable of navigating roadways without any input from the driver. This autonomous ambition allows the Gen.Travel customize its interior in unorthodox ways: The seats can be configured in a familiar layout, arranged like a small conference room, or the seats can fold flat into two beds for overnight travel.

    It’s doubtful that you’ll see one of these pull up to your work like a Johnny Cab from Total Recall anytime soon, thought it’s interesting to see car companies target short-haul flight replacements. And while this isn’t the first with such a role as its target, it is more interesting than the flight-replacing concept we saw earlier this year. Still, it might be a few years down the road before you’re hailing a VW to whisk you away on your red eye.

    Do you think driverless taxis will ever happen en masse? Tell us your thoughts below.