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Rinspeed Microsnap shrinks down for CES 2019

Its hot-swappable platform is now the size of a Renault Twizy.

Rinspeed

Last year at CES 2018, Rinspeed showed off its wild Snap concept, which blended autonomy with a hot-swappable "skateboard" platform. Rinspeed must have invented a shrink ray in the last year, because at CES 2019, it's a fair bit smaller.

Say hello to the Rinspeed MicroSnap, the latest concept from the wild minds behind the Swiss vehicle design house. Building on last year's Snap, the MicroSnap shrinks the whole concept down to the size of a Renault Twizy, a European-market electric two-seater. Like its big-boy brethren, the MicroSnap's platform is meant for fast swapping of the pods on top, which can be used to transport people or goods, depending on need.

So why shrink it? Rinspeed says it's to accommodate the explosion of online ordering, including fresh groceries. By making its concept small enough, the MicroSnap can focus on targeted deliveries that ensure fresh food arrives fresh. That idea works for human transportation, as well, offering direct routes without wasting time dealing with multiple parties.

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It's ready for both work and play, just not at the same time.

Rinspeed

"Customers increasingly want prompt deliveries and many passengers are unwilling to use shared taxis, which have to take time-consuming detours by design," said Frank M. Rinderknecht, owner of Rinspeed, in a statement.

Rinspeed never stops at the design stage with its concepts. The MicroSnap has been thought through from soup to nuts. It can display digital license plates, and the exterior lights use different colors to communicate different concepts to pedestrians. The human-transport pod can track a rider's health and change the interior lights to improve the mood. There's a 49-inch curved LED screen offering interaction for riders. There's even an iris scanner to recognize occupants. It's also 5G-capable, because of course it is.

As you might expect, the Rinspeed MicroSnap is entirely electric. All the wear-and-tear components are relegated to the "skateboard" platform at the bottom, and Rinspeed says that they can be swapped in and out relatively quickly. As for the actual pod swapping itself, Rinspeed also create a robot assembly that uses articulating arms to remove and replace pods depending on what the concept needs to do next. It's some real pie-in-the-sky stuff, but that's what CES is all about.

Rinspeed MicroSnap is a tiny, do-it-all electric pod

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Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.

Article updated on January 7, 2019 at 11:22 AM PST

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Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
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