Rinspeed, the Swiss company best known for quirky auto concepts such as the garden plot on wheels Oasis, and the underwater Squba, will be unveiling its latest concept Snap and the 2018 CES show in La Vegas in January.
A with the latest Rinspeed concepts, Snap will address another possibility for autonomous driving — that they may become more than just transportation. Rinspeed’s brain-trust, inventor/designer/programmer Frank M. Rinderknecht separates the hardware and software (integrated in a skateboard-like chassis) from the pod-like cabin, which can be removed for other uses, such as camping.
And the two parts snap together, or are unsnapped from each other, as needed. Hence, the name.
But the notable part of Snap is that the skateboard part can be turned over as needed, due to the rapidly evolving nature of vehicle components, especially in recent years with all the various driving developments, and their constant wear and tear. Those components can be recycled once they reach the end of their useful lives and replaced with newer models, while the much more timeless pod can remain in service much longer and transferred to a new platform as warranted.
The electric Snap features two steering axles, allowing it to turn and manoeuvre in very tight quarters, and a Harman autonomous drive platform. It rides on18-inch Borbet wheels shod with low-resistance 225/35R18 tires.
Information to other road users (such as yielding right of way) is relayed via messages on the windshield and rear window, while projections on the side windows relay messages to passengers boarding the vehicle.
Cabin features include iris scanner for occupant detection, dimmable glass that eliminates the need for shades, and high-speed connectivity (5G, Car2X, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) for cabin occupants. It also offers connectivity to smart city infrastructure, other road users, connected health, and to facilitate secure transmission of high-definition, high-resolution multimedia assets.
The iris detection is part of 3-level authentication that allows for customizable displays for cabin occupants and allows the transfer of sometimes sensitive data. The system allows access to the interior via a token, then uses face recognition to identify the user.
Each user has three displays at their disposal (two of them centrally located for all occupants to watch the route navigation and entertainment feeds, such as movies), with personal preferences selected through a personal control panel with an interactive control dial. Personal contents and messages are accessed through hover pads brought into position by swivelling arms. Audio is provided through a Lexicon surround sound system.
Innovative lighting solutions includes the use of ultraviolet LED interior lighting to sterilize bacteria and thereby improve hygiene, which is important toward the maintenance of the onboard herb garden.
To finish it off, it also can employ a personal assistant in the form of an autonomous intelligent robot that can help with more tedious tasks, including helping carry purchases from shopping trips.