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Rinspeed's Budii looks at an autonomous future. Image by Rinspeed.

Rinspeed's Budii looks at an autonomous future
Much-modified BMW i3 is now a robot car.
<< earlier Rinspeed article  

 


News homepage -> Rinspeed news

What's this then?

You think this looks like a BMW i3 with a body kit, don't you? Well, you're just massively wrong. This did start life as an i3 but it's been turned - by insane Swiss coach builder, Rinspeed - into something called the 'Budii.' What's a Budii? It's an autonomous robot car that can hand you the steering wheel when you want to drive.

And when we say hand, we actually mean it. Because the usual mechanical steering column has been replaced by a drive-by-wire system, so the Budii's wheel normally sits in the centre of the dash, mostly folded away. It can also be used as a tablet holder or a fold out table, but if you actually want to take control of the car, the electronics will silently motor it into position, in left- or right -and drive forms. Madness.

It doesn't end there. Because the Budii has been designed to be driven by itself, it also includes personalised fans that fold out to cover the windows and give you more privacy (what are you planning to do, exactly?). There's air suspension that can vary the ride height by up to 100mm and which uses a pop-up laser scanner to read the road ahead. There's even something called a 'wellness shower' mounted in the headlining and frankly, we really don't want to know what that is.

The i3's clamshell doors have now been electrified so they open and close at the touch of a button while Rinspeed has worked with cutting-edge infotainment supplier Harman to create a seriously high-end in-car entertainment setup.

Mental, what's the official word?

Rinspeed's boss Frank Rinderknecht puts it as follows, referring to a joint study with consulting firm EY: "The autonomously driving car will require more than solving technical problems and legal issues in the next two decades. We not only have to redefine the interaction of man and machine, but must also raise questions about responsibility, tolerances and expectations." According to Rinderknecht, autonomous driving will undoubtedly offer the opportunity to make traffic more people-friendly and reduce the number of traffic accidents worldwide. "But even the best technology will not be perfect, albeit less prone to error than humans. That is something we will have to accept. We should not develop a blind, but rather a healthy trust in the new capabilities of the hardware and software. In the future, cars will do just as we do: they will keep learning every day, and as a result will get better and better at mastering the complex challenges of modern-day private transport."



Neil Briscoe - 4 Mar 2015


2015 Rinspeed Budii concept. Image by Rinspeed.2015 Rinspeed Budii concept. Image by Rinspeed.2015 Rinspeed Budii concept. Image by Rinspeed.2015 Rinspeed Budii concept. Image by Rinspeed.2015 Rinspeed Budii concept. Image by Rinspeed.

2015 Rinspeed Budii concept. Image by Rinspeed.2015 Rinspeed Budii concept. Image by Rinspeed.2015 Rinspeed Budii concept. Image by Rinspeed.2015 Rinspeed Budii concept. Image by Rinspeed.2015 Rinspeed Budii concept. Image by Rinspeed.









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