We recently discussed the BMW i3, the new electronic BMW vehicle that made a big splash with its advertisements on Super Bowl Sunday. However, Swiss automotive innovator Rinspeed has made headlines more recently by modifying an i3 into a sweet, self-driving technological wonder.
Self-driving cars are a concept that, while still far from widespread production, is becoming more and more of a reality in beta testing across several brands and models. You’ve definitely heard of the self-driving cars being engineered by Google, amongst others, but the newest face in the world of driverless cars is this heavily-modified BMW i3, called the Rinspeed Budii. This futuristic vehicle is unlike any self-driving concept car you’ve seen before, with a roof-mounted laser highlighting its plethora of novel innovations.
The Rinspeed Budii boasts several other exciting features, such as a steering wheel that is connected to a large robotic arm that stays tucked away during driverless rides, but can extend out should you ever feel the need to, you know, drive the car yourself. When in driverless mode, the robotic arm can function as a table, or as an “attentive personal valet,” whatever that means.
This high-tech automobile’s most-notable feature is the roof-mounted laser scanner, which scans the terrain ahead and automatically adjusts the suspension on the Budii, to avoid obstacles and keep your hands-free drive as smooth and comfortable as possible. The driverless mode is powered by innovatiove steer-by-wire technology from a company called Paravan.
The car also comes with two “mini vehicles” in the back, allowing you a little bit of mobility should you choose to exit the vehicle and move around city streets. Think of these little pieces of technology as shrunken-down Segways.
Other features include a central display screen and additional screens in the visors, because when you’re in a driverless car, the need to keep your eyes on the road at all times is just not as important. The interior of the car is also pretty gorgeous, with many shades of orange, purple, and silver that serve to make you feel like you are truly in a car of the future.
It’s very unlikely that the Rinspeed Budii will ever be available to buy for people like you and me, but that doesn’t mean we can’t marvel at what is potentially the most exciting self-driving car to date.
The Rinspeed Budii will nonetheless make its debut in earnest at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. We look forward to seeing this crazy new vehicle in action!