Is it that time of year? Whenever the snows start to fly and we begin thinking about the upcoming auto show season we can be sure to see some intriguing – and more than occasionally wacky – images land in our inbox thanks to the folks at Swiss “idea factory” Rinspeed.
One thing’s for sure, boss Frank Rinderknecht likes to keep a finger on the pulse of the industry and the trends reshaping it. That’s meant some intriguing ideas on the use of alternative propulsion and even a city car concept specifically designed to slip into a special train berth for use at the other end of a cross-continental journey.
The latest concept, the Rinspeed XchangE, picks up on the growing interest in autonomous driving. Explains Rinderknecht: “So far hardly anyone has taken this to its logical conclusion from the perspective of the driver. After all, traveling in a driverless car will no longer require me to stare at the road, but will let me spend my time in a more meaningful way.”
As you can see from these renderings, the XchangE does have a somewhat conventional steering wheel – but it can be shoved aside and “parked” when the car is in autonomous mode, the center console transformed into a coffee table. The front seats, in fact, can be turned around for a nice, 4-person coffee klatch.
While Rinspeed is saving some details for the unveiling of the XchangE at the Geneva Motor Show, a few months from now, it does note that the concept is intended to be battery-powered. The entire vehicle relies on the sort of “by-wire” technologies today found in modern jets.
Beyond that, a teaser release suggests, “The vehicle features all-new seats reminiscent of the relaxing business-class seats of major airlines – with similarly elaborate functionality. And it uses a completely new operating and display concept with a host of innovative entertainment, safety and service functions. This makes it possible to work or relax in particular comfort while riding in the driverless car.”
(Millennials want autonomous cars, says new survey. Click Here for details.)
Proponents suggest that autonomous driving would have a number of advantages over today’s vehicles. Among other things, the technology would mean safer roads, less traffic congestion and improved fuel economy. If anything, suggests Rinspeed, by freeing a motorist up from the tedium of driving, it would actually increase the appeal of traveling by automobile, both for short and long distances.
“I am given free time that I can use for myself anyway I please,” says Rinderknecht, “while the sensor systems and the computer chauffeur me safely and reliably to my destination.”
(Feds want to speed up development of new high-tech safety tech. Click Here for more.)
The Rinspeed XchangE will make its official debut in March.
One response to “Rinspeed Goes Autonomous with XchangE”
A lot of vehicle operators currently sleep, have sex, shave, play video games, text, use their cellphone, etc. when they are suppose to be driving so autonomous cars would be perfect for these people. They will still manage to find a way to crash however. They really should take the bus.