Rinspeed Snap is a wild self-driving ecosystem for CES
The Swiss car design house is readying this inventive "snap together" modular autonomous car for Las Vegas.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
This sort of thing has been shown off conceptually before, dating at least as far back as GM's Autonomy and HyWire concepts of the early 2000s. But the Snap is innovative because it imagines standalone uses for these snap-on modules, be it a "variable shopping pod or a spacious camping pod" or even a "cozy cuddling pod."
Rinspeed Snap is a modular driverless pod and chassis concept
The Snap's interior is loaded down with tech, including three screens per occupant. The displays can show everything from brought-in personal information and media to route information and onboard movies.
The company even imagines a robot personal assistant to accompany occupants that will "be happy to help with running errands, carrying purchases or handle other tedious tasks."
The Snap also features no fewer than six projectors to send notifications to pedestrians and other vehicles on the road to relay important messages like "Right of way granted," or "Caution, children."
Rinspeed also sees the Snap's modular approach as being beneficial for its longevity and eco-friendliness. That's because high-wear components that are also prone to becoming outdated can be replaced as needed, while the durable attachable pods can live on as technology evolves. (Nevermind that the immense amount of in-pod electronics mentioned above will almost certainly become dated more quickly than the underlying chassis).
The company doesn't just see the Snap as a vehicle for service companies, it imagines that models will be available for purchase, lease or via carshare programs.
Roadshow will have much more on this fun and fascinating Rinspeed concept car when we get an up-close look at CES in January. Stay tuned.