Swiss automobile manufacturer Rinspeed will once again debut an original concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next January. The company, which describes itself as a “creative think tank and mobility lab for the automotive industry”, released the first images of the Rinspeed Oasis earlier this month.
In today’s blog, we’re taking a closer look at the car that’s being dubbed a “living room on wheels”.
The Rinspeed Oasis is best described as a two-seat electric car with self-driving capabilities. The car’s interior is what sets it apart from the majority of its peers, with the company deciding to focus on creating a “living space”.
Along with two armchairs, a decorative sideboard and television, the car’s windscreen can also be used as a virtual or augmented reality display. The ambitious design even includes a small garden area.
The company said the Oasis was “not solely designed with a single purpose in mind like Google’s cars.” It can be used for a variety of different purposes. For example, it would make an ideal delivery vehicle thanks to a climate-controlled and passcode protected delivery drawer. CEO and founder Frank M. Rinderknecht has compared the car to R2-D2, since both are capable of turning on their own axis with almost a zero radius, aiding maneuverability in urban areas.
Unlike some of its competitors, Rinspeed hasn't completely dropped the steering wheel. Instead, a multifunction unit will allow passengers to take control if they wish to.
Rinspeed has become known for its unusual concepts in recent years. At the 2016 CES, they unveiled the Rinspeed Etos - a redesign of the BMW i8. The Etos features a steering wheel that motors itself away into the dashboard when not in use, twin 21.5-inch curved display monitors, a camera system with virtual mirrors, active eye-tracking and more. It even had a landing platform at the back of the car for a drone.
APPLE SCALING BACK AUTONOMOUS PLANS
News also broke this week that Apple is scaling back its autonomous car ambitions and focusing on creating self-driving software. Unnamed sources familiar with the project told Bloomberg that hundreds of members of “Project Titan” have been reassigned, let go, or left of their own accord.
It is now being reported that Apple executives have given the team a deadline of late next year to prove the feasibility of the self-driving system. The company wants to develop a system that gives them flexibility to partner with existing automakers.
For those who still harbour ambitions of bringing autonomous vehicles to market, there are several hurdles to overcome. First and foremost, the interaction between human drivers and autonomous vehicles remains one of the key hurdles.
This has been highlighted by a recent study, which found that aggressive drivers are looking forward to sharing the road with autonomous cars as they believe they can cut in front of them easily. Autonomous vehicles are programmed to err on the side of caution and avoid vehicles, which the study says may leave them vulnerable on the road.
Aggressive drivers “see autonomous vehicles as easier agents to deal with on the road” than humans, because they think they will be able to “bully” them, according to a study by the London School of Economics and Goodyear.
The study surveyed 12,000 drivers in 11 countries and dozens of focus groups were held.
The autonomous vehicle market presents a wealth of opportunities. In recent years, we’ve seen heavy investment in R&D and a growing number of strategic collaborations between automakers and tech companies. A recent report published on Research and Markets expects 71 million self-driving cars to be on the roads by 2030.
This will eventually lead to growth in related markets, such as accessories and interiors. Rinspeed appear to be one of the first companies to consider this and CES is the perfect place to show off this concept. The world's biggest consumer technology show has increasingly becoming the ideal platform for future concept cars to make their debut.
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