The Geneva International Motor Show might not be until March, but that hasn’t stopped the conceptual wizards at Rinspeed from giving us a sneak-peak at what they’ve been up to since this year’s XchangE concept car. The Swiss engineering firm has always been welcomed with open arms at the annual motor show and it seems that 2015 will be no exception.
March 2014 saw Frank Rinderknecht and his team show off their concept car based on the Tesla Model S, which focused ambitiously on autonomous driving and the space within the confinements of the car. With emphasis placed on allowing the driver to swap driving time for more productive tasks, made possible with such features as a steering wheel that can be moved over to the center console while not in use, or seats with 20 different levels of adjustment to suit the driver’s needs.
One might draw some comparisons between the XchangE and Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025. Autonomous driving wasn’t a new concept, but using autonomy as a point to stress the newly available time for other beneficial activities for drivers was a new angle to take on the discussion. Mercedes may have even drawn a little inspiration from Rinspeed’s concept.
This year though, Rinspeed’s concept takes a whole different exterior shape altogether. Based on what looks like the BMW i3, the Rinspeed Budii is an attempt to “redefine the relationship between man and machine.”, which ultimately translates to further blueprints for autonomous driving.
Rinderknecht and Rinspeed’s high ambitions are still realistic and understanding of the gradual and possibly resistible change that is imminently upon us in the ever-nearer future:
“The transition from traditional to autonomous driving will take place in stages. Consequently, man and machine will still have a few years left to get used to this new form of mobility and the different interplay between people and technology it will entail, time they both will need”.
As for the car itself, as mentioned above it’s basically the BMW i3, but jazzed up and given some nice rims and a roof scoop. Of course, this is all taken from drawings and no actual manufactured product just yet, so between now and March the design could change slightly.
What really sets this one apart for me is the ability to change the steering wheel from left hand drive to right hand drive or vice versa. This would effectively (as long as other measures were in place and laws were abided by, of course) allow the Budii to be driven all over the world, without very much differentiation to the car.
The specs aren’t yet out for the Rinspeed Budii, but fans of their work over the past years will be intrigued to find out whether there’s yet more surprises in store for this concept car. March will soon be upon us and so will the Budii. The Geneva International Motor Show runs from March 5-15th.