Automotive

Rinspeed prepares a self-driving Oasis for CES 2017

Rinspeed prepares a self-drivi...
The Oasis is a car by day, and – potentially – a pizza delivery vehicle by night
The Oasis is a car by day, and – potentially – a pizza delivery vehicle by night
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The windscreen in the Oasis can act as a screen for VR and AR displays
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The windscreen in the Oasis can act as a screen for VR and AR displays
The Oasis is a car by day, and – potentially – a pizza delivery vehicle by night
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The Oasis is a car by day, and – potentially – a pizza delivery vehicle by night

Based just outside of Zurich, Switzerland, boutique tuner Rinspeed has been busy with autonomous driving recently, showing off its vision for a driverless world with creations like the Etos and XchangeE. Come CES 2017, those cars will have a new stablemate, with the launch of the Oasis concept.

When autonomous cars hit the big time, they'll force a big rethink of the traditional interior layout. At the moment, manufacturers are pushing a "driver-focused" environment, where everything is tailored to making the person behind the wheel feel at home. Although it makes sense for now, that approach will likely need some revision when everyone becomes a passenger.

The Oasis is designed to reimagine the self-driving cabin, with a focus on making passengers feel comfortable in a lounge-like space. Although it's a pure two-seater, those two seats can be repurposed in a number of different ways. Along with armchairs and a decorative sideboard inside, the interior is fitted out with a TV, and the windscreen can be used as a virtual or augmented reality display.

Unlike some takes on the self-driving car (which will likely be hitting Californian roads soon), Rinspeed hasn't completely dropped the steering wheel. Instead, a multifunction unit allows passengers to take control when they want to, although there's no word on what's powering the car and whether it's designed to put a smile on a keen driver's face.

The windscreen in the Oasis can act as a screen for VR and AR displays
The windscreen in the Oasis can act as a screen for VR and AR displays

Rinspeed isn't alone in trying to rethink the cockpit. Even the team at McLaren, which is all about giving the driver a good experience, is trying to wrap its head around what's to come.

"A whole other angle of design is going to pop up," says McLaren Chief Designer, Frank Stephenson, who spoke to New Atlas earlier this year at the opening of a new McLaren dealership in Richmond, Melbourne. "We're gonna have to have designers who are trained in car design, movable transport designers who are focused on the interior of the car. All this driver focused environment, well, that sounds very selfish. So, there's a whole other aspect of interior design I think that's going to start happening."

Although McLaren is yet to release what it thinks this other aspect might look like, other manufacturers like Mercedes, Volvo and BMW have joined Rinspeed in demonstrating their visions for the self-driving cars. All of them are slightly different, but all of them share the idea that five fixed forward-facing seats are no longer in vogue.

One of the other things expected to change drastically with the introduction of self-driving is the very role of the car itself. When it's not being used to ferry the driver around, Rinspeed envisions the Oasis as a multi-user delivery van, with a code-accessible drawer in the trunk. Forget about a kid on a dodgy scooter bringing you pizza, how about a Swiss self-driving delivery vehicle?

Rinspeed will demonstrate the Oasis at CES in Las Vegas next year.

Source: Rinspeed

5 comments
Lardo
Can I see a show of hands, here? How many people are actually looking forward to self-driving cars? 'cause I gotta tell you... I'm not. I think this whole "autonomous" vehicle craze is being pushed by techno-geeks more than it is a demanding public. To be honest, I like driving. Call me a control-freak, but I like being the one making the decisions. (And after 40+ years - at 20,000 miles per year average - without an accident, or traffic ticket, I'd say I'm pretty darn good at it.) Oh, and if it's some kind of safety you're looking for, forget it. After all, computers crash too, (pun intended) you know.
Bob Flint
Any self driving delivery vehicle will still need a human interaction to deposit and remove the item delivered, even if it is automated ie; enormous vending machine, still needs to be maintained, stocked, & repaired. In this case with a delivery person inside, might as well be a regular car. Besides those designers are getting ahead of themselves, any idea how much computing is required to attain up to say 90% autonomy? A van crammed full of electronica, power & sensors galore...never mind those tiny Google bugs that crawl along at a snails pace, the inbreed desire to race around at illegal speeds is very evident in not only the traffic deaths, but the manufacture's that fuel the frenzy with 1200+hp death machines that intoxicate us to our doom...
Harap White
Oh Lardo...I wish most of the drivers to be like you since i also enjoy driving i know what you mean...but there are so MANY bad drivers on the road which hopefully this technology will eliminate most of them off the road...come and drive in Vancouver, BC, Canada and you will understand what i mean...driving is definitely NOT for everyone
Timelord
@Lardo, okay, you're a control freak. The rest of us can see all the stupidity on the roads every single day, from drivers who make poor decisions to those who are distracted to those who just don't give a damn. Go to any intersection and watch how many people roll through a light because it wasn't quite red when they were approaching an intersection. I just love it when people insist they like driving. So they like either dealing with all the hassles of start and stop traffic in cities or the mindless chore of staring down the highway for untold miles outside urban areas. In 50 years, young people will be wondering how there were such dinosaurs as you who want to drive themselves. I hope you're taking the stairs all the time rather than letting those godawful elevators make all the decisions for you.
tomtoys
It's still like the first horseless carriage in that the design is dominated by present car layout. A real break with tradition would be to have four seats in the dimensions of a vehicle such as this, like stagecoach or old railway compartment, facing inwards. This would give much space for passengers, load or even a double bed. When the technology is well developed an emergency manual override would be unnecessary, any more than carrying a spare driver today in case the primary one conks out.