A Volkswagen Group of America student design project explores future mobility concepts for long-distance traveling.

VW’s Innovation and Engineering Center California (IECC) recently concluded its first-ever “Long Distance Mobility and Living Space” project. According to VW, it was “an Academy of Art University class aimed at collaborating with innovative firms to deliver immersive, hands-on professional experiences for its students.

Five of the 30 participating students were selected as winners, receiving part of a scholarship fund donated by Volkswagen Group of America. Their future mobility concepts for long-distance travelers (electrified and autonomous, obviously) impressed VW’s IECC, offering fresh insight into the future of transportation.

The students’ task was “to holistically design a seamless mobility experience inspired by the vast American landscape.” Obviously, all the concepts were electrified and autonomous. The five winning virtual concepts were Outreach, Urban Cowboy, X Hubs, Orbis, and Kinship.

Gallery: "Future of Mobility" by VW and Academy of Art’s School of Industrial Design

The Urban Cowboy is definitely the one that stands out the most from a visual standpoint—or at least, the one that resembles current cars the most. Not too many details about it are available, though. “This project reflects the team’s passion for adventure and admiration for cowboy culture to demonstrate sustainable long-distance travel at its best.

Outreach is another interesting study that brings a lifestyle approach to road travel for the modern nomad “looking for a vehicle as adaptable as themselves.” According to the short description, this concept blurs the lines between vehicle and home, as it appears to dock with the house, effectively becoming another room.

Moving on, the X Hubs project imagines how highway rest areas will look in the future, offering “an eco-conscious and family-friendly safe stop for road trippers to recharge and connect along their journeys.

As for the Orbis, it is “designed with purpose for business travelers, looking to achieve a holistic work-life balance.” We also learn that the in-cabin experience was reinterpreted to help passengers decompress and eliminate post-arrival fatigue.

As far as we understand, Kinship envisions more an idea than an actual car, more specifically “a global team across disciplines with an overarching vision for the project, developing voice, brand strategy, website, and graphic layout for all design concepts.

Which one is your favorite?

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