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Meet the weirdest self-driving car yet
Mercedes-Benz’s new self-driving S-Class and Audi’s self-piloting RS7 are missing just one vital ingredient for ultimate RoboCar kudos: a giant, roof-mounted Frickin’ Laser Scanner. Oh, and tiny, on-board robots.
Yes folks, it’s another concept car from Switzerland’s ‘automotive powerhouse of ideas’, Rinspeed, with a heavily modified, self-driving BMW i3.
Of course, it stopped being an i3 as soon as Rinspeed - makers of such wondrousness as this Microcmax, the Dock+Go, and the iChange - decided to mount its steering wheel upon a giant robotic arm that stays safely stowed away during automated driving, or extends out to the driver (or passenger) should the urge to steer arise.
Oh, but it gets much, much better. While stowed, the creepy arm-wheel-thing can function as a table, or indeed an ‘attentive personal valet’. While driving, it uses steer-by-wire tech from Paravan.
To the i3’s worthy base, Rinspeed’s tech partners have added air suspension with adjustment up to 100mm, aforementioned LASER SCANNER on the roof, which monitors the road ahead, and adjusts the suspension accordingly, to avoid obstacles. And - our favourite bit - two electric ‘mini vehicles’ housed in the rear. The idea, of course, is that these tiny two-wheelers offer urban mobility when you near your destination. Robots inside robots!
There are electric doors. There’s a central screen built by Harman, many other screens in the visors, a curved dash and space for two (don’t forget your robot friends in the rear). Not only that, but tuning firm Mansory - ever a byword for subtlety and grace - has added some flourishes to the interior. Hence why it’s orange. And silver. And purple.
It won’t become real. Rinspeed’s creations rarely do. But still, isn’t the Budii just brilliant? If Jeremy’s piece on the BMW i8 from last night’s show gave us the future, here’s what the future looks like after a few disco biscuits.