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Sbarro roadster concept car (photos)

Franco Sbarro shows off a new concept car at the 2009 Geneva auto show, featuring hubless wheels and a unique roadster design. But the Delphi vehicle interface is probably the most practical and innovative part of the car.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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Legendary designer Franco Sbarro brings a new concept car to the Geneva auto show, a compact roadster featuring hubless wheels and an innovative software interface by Delphi.

See more coverage of the 2009 Geneva auto show.

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The concept has an engine mounted between the rear wheels, which are on a much narrower track than the front wheels.

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Franco Sbarro invented the hubless wheel in 1989. On the current concept, the front wheels seem to float on aerodynamic struts. The wheel turns on a fixed ring attached to the strut.

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Hubless wheels are also used on the rear. The brake discs are configured as rings mounted to the insides of the wheels, with calipers facing outwards.

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The tight cockpit has room for two. A touch-screen LCD is mounted on the console and handles controls for climate and infotainment. The unique interface was designed by Delphi.

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All of the buttons on this interface are virtual and respond to touches and gestures. For example, you can swipe a finger around the volume control to adjust the audio level. The navigation map can be moved around by swiping, as well.

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Touch a function button on the side of the screen, and you can switch from navigation to stereo to phone.

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The phone system has this keypad, along with a phonebook. Although the Sbarro roadster concept might not see production, Delphi could use this interface technology in other cars.

See more coverage of the 2009 Geneva auto show.

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