Rinspeed XchangE Concept Previews The Future Of Self-Driving Cars

Rinspeed Xchange 2

Switzerland-based Rinspeed will be showcasing a glimpse of the future of autonomous driving at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show with the XchangE concept which envisions the cabin of a self-driving vehicle.

Redefined travelling with the XchangE concept vehicle

At present, robotic cars exist mainly as prototypes (the Mercedes-Benz S Class 200 km by itself , see video below) that drove  and demonstration systems, but are likely to become more widespread in the near future.

Research further shows that some qausi-autonomous demonstration systems date back to the 1920s and the 1930s, and since then, significant advances have been made in both technology and legislation relevant to autonomous cars.

Which is where the Swiss company comes in, providing the answer with a fully electric touring XchangE concept sedan - focussed on “redefined travelling and advanced infotainment.”

"So far hardly anyone has taken this to its logical conclusion from the perspective of the driver. After all, travelling in a driverless car will no longer require me to stare at the road, but will let me spend my time in a more meaningful way" says Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht.

The concept has been formed with a new type of display offering great functionality not only to those who want to relax inside the cabin but also for those who want to do some work while commuting. It's equipped with steer-by-wire technology which allows the steering wheel to be “parked” in the middle of the dashboard for a more convenient cabin layout.

The XchangE concept is also said to feature all-new seats providing comfort you would normally find in the business class of an air plane, and completely new operating and display concept with a host of innovative entertainment.

The future of self-driving vehicles

As of now major automotive manufacturers, including General Motors, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Audi, Nissan, Toyota, BMW, and Volvo, are testing driverless car systems.

Mercedes-Benz made waves when it introduced its intelligent driverless S 500 at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September. In August, the vehicle drove autonomously through a 100-kilometre-long route from Mannheim to Pforzheim in Germany. It was equipped with production-based sensors for the project, and was able to deal with some difficult situations involving traffic lights, roundabouts, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Fully autonomous vehicles are not yet available to the public, however many contemporary car models have features offering limited autonomous functionality.

These include: adaptive cruise control - a system that monitors distances to adjacent vehicles in the same lane, adjusting the speed with the flow of traffic; lane assist - which monitors the vehicle's position in the lane, and either warns the driver when the vehicle is leaving its lane, or, less commonly, takes corrective actions; and parking assist - which assists the driver in the task of parallel parking.

What do you think will be the future of autonomous driving in South Africa, does it have a place in the market or not? Let us know what you think on our facebook page.

Self-driving Mercedes-Benz S 500 Intelligent Drive video

Rinspeed Xchange Concept gallery