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Volvo has gone all Rene Magritte on us, posting pictures of a phone and a parcel that claim not to be the thing they represent. Ceci n’est pas un telephone, indeed.
The first seems to be a fairly straightforward cognitive leap. With the hashtag “FutureIsMobility,” it’s not hard to see how a phone could be considered a key or a hailing device or a media remote or whatever else smartphones are good at rather than simply a phone.
The second, though, a gift wrapped parcel, is a little stranger. While Volvo recently announced that delivery people could open its vehicles’ trunks to drop off a parcel, that doesn’t really seem to stop the parcel from being a parcel in any meaningful way.
What is (or at least appears to be) plain is that this is forecasting an announcement on autonomous driving (though, appearances can be deceiving). Volvo has been deeply interested in autonomy and has given people across Gotenburg access to prototype autonomous Volvos to test.
The brand jumping into the field with both feet as a safety initiative. With a self-imposed mandate to not let anyone die as a result of its cars by 2020, Volvo is focusing heavily on the technology, which it views as a safety imperative.
The technology will require new forms of interaction, though, so hailing your car with a smartphone and directing it to your location through a maps app makes a lot of sense.
And since the cars don’t need human drivers, they could conceivably deliver a package when you aren’t in one. Still, though, the parcel remains a parcel. As a result we’ll have to go with Magritte’s interpretation, that you could not open this parcel, because it’s just a representation, until a better answer reveals itself.
Let us know what you think the teaser means in comments and we’ll find out when Volvo reveals all at the LA Auto Show, later this month. The show will have double importance for this particular reference, since Magritte’s “This is Not a Pipe” is housed at the Los Angeles County Museum.