Rinspeed has been dreaming up insane vehicles for years — from scuba cars plucked from James Bond’s garage to modded self-driving rides. Even if they never make it to the public, the concepts are at least fun to check out, and the Rinspeed Snap is no different. Essentially a modular vehicle in two parts, the Snap is made up of interchangeable pods that attach to a rolling chassis, which houses data-processing computers and the EV powertrain. When the latter starts aging, you simply slide a new one under your existing pod, theoretically extending the lifecycle of the vehicle at a fraction of the cost of buying a new car. And, if you get bored of the top half, you can swap that out too.
The pods Rinspeed teases in the accompanying video (see above) are built for passengers and cargo. But, commuters get to have all the fun, thanks to an onboard digital assistant that taps into your preferences to make recommendations, like restaurants.
Each passenger has three displays at his disposal for interaction. Personal settings are selected with the ‘Personal Control Panel’ featuring an interactive control dial. Personal contents and messages are shown on the touch-controlled ‘Hover Tabs,’ which are brought into position by swiveling arms. Two large centrally placed screens provide route information and movie enjoyment. The Lexicon surround sound system with Ambisonics Escape signal processing delivers a unique audio experience with all applications.
To make its imaginary vehicle even crazier, the company is also touting an optional robotic helper to help with errands, shopping, and a back rub (we made that last one up). These are the types of promises you can make when your concept is all a bit pie-in-the-sky. In addition, the passenger pod packs three screens, so you never have to talk to your co-rider again. You’ll be able to get a closer look at it for yourself at CES 2018 next month.