Rinspeed sows the seeds of change with 'Oasis' concept car
Rinspeed Oasis concept car (Rinspeed)
Published Wednesday, December 7, 2016 9:13AM EST
The car's creator, Frank M. Rinderknecht, has already dubbed the Oasis -- due to be unveiled at the 2017 CES -- as R2D2's cooler sibling.
The car is designed to be able to do everything any other conceptual autonomous vehicle can do -- navigate to and from destinations unaided -- but it will also put a smile on its passengers' faces in the process.
The two-seat greenhouse-esque pod is as rapid as it is agile -- it can turn 360° within its own axis -- and the comparison to a greenhouse is apt as one of its standout features is a space for urban gardening. Situated just ahead of the dashboard are containers designed for growing small vegetables such as radishes or, as Rinderknecht suggests, bonsai trees for increased inner peace while the outer world races by.
These and many of its other features -- such as the combination code-protected heated drawer in the trunk for when the car is used for pizza delivery in the evening -- sound very leftfield, even for a company such as Rinspeed that wears its eccentricities on its sleeve.
However, the car was developed to a very clear brief, much of which was based on research and studies from consulting firm EY regarding the individualization of mobility.
That's why the interior is like a Swiss army knife in terms of options. The car can operate as a mobile office with Skype video calling, as a cinema on wheels with images filling the windshield completely, or as an autonomous package delivery pod.
In the very near future, thanks to the convergence of technologies, the definition of mobility is going to change. Rinspeed describes a scenario where the car belongs to a businessman.
It drives him to the airport, avoiding any congestion and drops him off on time. Then it alerts others via social media that it's available for use for two days and goes into service as a taxi, pizza truck or delivery service, before returning to the airport to collect its owner when his flight gets in.
But that's just the start. Because the car is connected to social networks, it can monitor "likes" and recommendations and can even suggest a café or restaurant to try and navigate to it when it knows the owner has a free moment in his or her schedule.
The Rinspeed Oasis will make its global debut at the 2017 CES on January 4 in Las Vegas and will also be appearing at the Detroit Auto Show from January 9.