When Volvo's Swedish engineers aren't busy designing a new car, they often get bored. When engineers get bored, they tinker.
As a result, we're treated to a constant stream of one-off concepts and technological demonstrations almost year-round, some carrying more importance than others. At the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, Volvo debuted the Lounge Console Concept, which coddles well-off occupants with vanity stations, 17-inch flat screens, and disappearing shoe storage. The brand has just released another concept in the same vein, but this time, it's for the little ones.
Called the Excellence Child Seat Concept, the high-tech chair was designed to keep children as comfortable as possible while in the car, but more importantly, safe. As you can see from the photos, the concept removes the front passenger seat in favor of a platform that allows the unit to swivel and lock in a rearward facing position. This improves egress and ingress dramatically, while allowing little Johnny or Sue to maintain eye contact with the parental in the back.
"For us the safety, convenience, and emotional factors outweigh everything else," said Tisha Johnson, Chief Designer Interiors at Volvo's Concept and Monitoring Centre. "Being able to maintain eye contact with your child from the rear seat, or being able to keep a bottle warm in the heated cup holders in the XC90 Excellence, would go a long way towards making life easier for parents taking their small child on a trip. Such alternative seating arrangements will become increasingly important as we move towards autonomous vehicles."
The concept, which allows small children to lean back and sleep, also features storage compartments for diapers, blankets, bottles, wipes, and everything else needed to keep the little tykes happy on the road. There's no production version of the seat yet, but like the Lounge Console Concept before it, we expect elements of its design to creep into Volvo's passenger cars soon.