The Swedish car company synonymous with driver and passenger safety has decided to drag the concept of the child seat, though not its occupant, kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
For most parents, installing and removing the child seat, fiddling with the harnesses and making sure their child is safe, secure and comfortable, can often prove to be the stressful element of any vehicular journey.
It's why van-derived MPVs like the Citroen Berlingo and Renault Kangoo have found a cult following for their sliding rear doors that make accessing the rear seats simple, no matter where the car is parked.
Volvo's concept attempts to blend practicality with safety without compromising comfort. The child seat sits on a rotating platform on the front passenger side of the car and can be turned towards the door for ease of access then turned through 90 degrees so that the child seat is rear, rather than front facing.
"We focused on three key benefits – making it easier to get the child into and out of the child seat from an ergonomic and comfort perspective, providing the child with a safe rearward facing seating position that enables it to keep eye-contact with either the driver or the rear passenger and of course including enough storage for those vital child accessories," said Tisha Johnson, chief designer interiors at Volvo Cars Concept and Monitoring Centre.
Under the concept seat are storage spaces for toys, clothes, nappies, food and a bottle and of course larger items like a full change bag. The finishing touch is a heated cup holder that can be used to warm up a bottle when it's time for a feed.
Volvo subscribes to the view that for ultimate safety, children under the age of three should travel in rear-facing seats when inside a car due to the relative weakness of their neck muscles and the size and weight of their heads.
"We have always placed a great deal of importance on child safety, but this takes things to the next level," said Johnson.
Volvo, like Mercedes is exploring the future of the car cabin. As vehicles become more autonomous, their cabins are going to become less focused on driving and more focused on traveling in comfort.
"We see a direct connection between luxury and emotional wellbeing. So we have taken the next step in redefining how the interior of a car can be used to suit our customers' needs," said Johnson.
"Such alternative seating arrangements will become increasingly important as we move towards autonomous vehicles." – AFP/Relaxnews, July 3, 2015.