Rinspeed is a design firm and automotive think tank based out of Switzerland that specializes in creating concept cars. Since 1977, the company has been creating transportation systems of the future. The company actually got its start by importing sunroofs from the U.S.
The company's new concept is called Snap, and it could not only solve crippling transportation issues, but also service a growing demand for autonomous vehicles.
Snap works like a mass transit spin on the PODS business model. You have your own personalized passenger pod that recognizes you by using a vehicle-based biometric ID module made by Michigan-based Gentex. Basically, it's an iris scanner.
When you're ready to leave the house, you summon Snap’s large skateboard-shaped platform that docks with your pod and autonomously takes you wherever you wish to go. By separating a vehicle into two components, a single autonomous skateboard could serve multiple people each day, stopping only to recharge.
According to the company, the passenger pods could be used for more than simply commuting. It could be your home office, spare room, or even your camper. I’m not sure if it is still truly camping if you have your pod dropped off in the woods for the weekend, although I’m sure the views would be spectacular.
The pods would obviously require a robust and durable design, and Gentex even created dimmable glass in the event that you require privacy during your commute. The possibility of passenger personalization opens up a host of possibilities. It would not only know your favorites when it comes to music or podcast, but it would also know your settings for climate control, and give you access to secure connected-vehicle services, like banking or even working from a secure server.
If you want to see it for yourself, Snap will debut at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, but first, we must consider how we will decorate our personal pods.
This is IEN Now with David Mantey.