Rinspeed’s Budii concept will drive itself, and wind your watch too

Swiss design firm Rinspeed always brings an outlandish concept car to the annual Geneva Motor Show, but lately it’s been channeling its wackiness into autonomous vehicles.

Following the Tesla Model S-based XchangE, Rinspeed will unveil a new concept called the Budii at the 2015 Geneva show.

Previewed back in December, the Budii is also based on a production electric car, in this case the BMW i3.

Described as a “friend on wheels” by its maker, the Budii features an array of sensors, vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity, and a laser scanner that allows the car to pre-adjust its suspension based on the terrain ahead.

The Budii is designed to be driven either by a human or placed in “autopilot” mode. The steering wheel is mounted on a robotic arm, so it can be passed between the driver and front passenger, or stowed in the center of the console to free up space when the computer takes over.

Freed from the task of driving, occupants can enjoy the plethora of touch screens in the cabin, groove to some music from the Harman Kardon audio system, or enjoy the “wellness shower,” whatever that is.

Rinspeed says the infotainment system is designed to learn users’ preferences, so entering commands becomes faster and easier the more time people spend in the car.

Plenty of cars have infotainment systems, though. This is probably the only one with a built-in watch winder.

A Manero PowerReserve watch is mounted on the steering wheel, and when a built-in camera detects that the movement is slowing, a mechanism winds it. Now that’s automation.

As with Rinspeed’s other concepts, the Budii isn’t destined for production. Like the previous XchangE, it may not even be able to drive autonomously, despite all of the equipment listed in the spec sheet.

What the Budii can do is provide one version of what future car interiors built around automation could look like, and boggle minds until the next Rinspeed creation comes along.


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