Swedish automaker Volvo recently announced two child car seat innovations that aim to make travelling easier for parents, while maintaining child safety.
Its inflatable child seat concept is designed for parents looking for ultra-mobile solutions. The lightweight design weighs just 5kg and is able to be inflated in less than 40 seconds. It can fit into a backpack when deflated, making it perfect for use when travelling on public transport, in taxis, or via car-sharing schemes, where child safety often becomes more problematic than within private vehicles. See Design Democracy: Shift for more on designing for increasingly nomadic lifestyles.
The innovative model is made from drop-stitch material for durability – a fabric more commonly found in the boating industry. As highlighted in our A/W 16-17 Design Direction Outline, designers are often looking outside of their conventional industries to appropriate materials and techniques for high-performance results.
The other concept is aimed at the luxury market and is designed to work within the Volvo XC90 Excellence, a car created for the high-end market and chauffeur culture – as seen at Auto Shanghai earlier this year. The swivelling seat turns in position, making it easier to get the child in or out before locking back into a rearward position.
A storage section underneath the seat allows users to neatly stow items such as blankets or toys, while Volvo also suggests how other features of the vehicle model –such as heated cup holders being used to keep milk bottles warm – can benefit families and make long journeys more comfortable.
The seat is placed in the space conventionally used for a front passenger seat to offer eye contact between the rear passenger and the child. Alternative seating arrangements such as this will become more evident as autonomous cars emerge, as seen in Mercedes-Benz's Luxury in Motion concept.