Self-driving car has fully reclining heated seats, seat belt-like blankets
Hyundai Motor Group on Sunday(May 15) unveiled its latest mobility concept inspired by the Korean traditional floor heating system “ondol” that allows passengers to take rest inside or even sleep with a specially designed multifunctional blanket.
According to the carmaker, its new mobility concept, Mobility Ondol, has no driver’s seat, since it was designed based on the fully autonomous driving system. The seats are arranged to face each other, putting the communication of the passengers as the core value of this mobility experience.
With a focus on time for rest, the car body’s overall height is at 1,430 millimeters and wheelbase at 3,500 millimeters, more spacious than the average midsize vehicles that have overall height and wheelbase at 1,130 millimeters and 2,750 millimeters.
The carmaker said it has also specially designed the seat to accommodate a range of comfortable postures inside the vehicle, similar to that a luxury recliner chair or a bed could offer.
When a passenger wants to put the seats into the bed arrangement mode, the seats can be extended so one can lie down completely. When they sleep, a blanket that has buckles attached to the floor works as a seat belt, allowing comfortable but safe trips.
Hyundai Motor said its technology behind the convertible seats is the application of a “full flat seat,” which rearranged the supporting structure and the location of hinges of the seat. Such arrangement allows various kinds of postures to help reduce tiredness when seated for a long duration.
It is not the first carmaker to unveil a fully reclining seat design.
In 2018, Volvo revealed its 360C, an autonomous concept with four different interior themes including “Sleep” with a lay-flat bed. Positioning itself as the “future of travel” so people don’t need to fly anymore, Volvo said passengers can sleep in a self-driving private cabin, or also use it as a mobile office, living room and entertainment space.
Even earlier, Mercedes-Benz unveiled an autonomous podlike vehicle designed to function as a communal living room on wheels at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2015.
Sven Schuwirth, a former chairman at the Supervisory Board at Audi, has said that self-driving cars could disrupt the airline and hotel industries within 20 years as people are able to sleep in their vehicles on the road.
“Business travelers will be able to avoid taking domestic flights to meetings and will sleep and work in their cars en route instead of checking into city-center hotels,” he was quoted as saying in an interview.
Experts say the automakers’ EV mobility concept will continue to advance toward offering comfortable experiences and leverage on the advantages of being electric.
“Such vehicles would have to be electric considering the EV’s propulsions efficiency in silence, stillness and fineness. Not only that, EVs have a low center of gravity when it comes to design, so the gravity would minimize the body roll, really increasing the passenger’s comfort inside the car,” said an industry insider.