Autonomous and electric cars are the future, or at least that’s what everyone keeps saying, and the Rinspeed Budii is the latest futuristic car to strut its stuff on the road. Though Rinspeed builds its own cars from the ground up, they more often base their cars on production models. There has been the Tesla-based XchangeE and the Smart-based Dock+Go and now, the Rinspeed Budii based on the electric BMW i3.
On the outside it pretty much looks like the BMW i3 except for a few noticeable changes. There are myriad lights in the front that give it a distinctly Christmas tree vibe and there’s a funky little protrusion on the roof that looks like a wing. That wing turns out to be a telescoping laser scanner that they’re calling TrackView. It raises up out of the roof by 70 centimeters and provides a 3D image of the road as a high-resolution camera maps the terrain. The car then adjusts ride height and suspension to match the road and can notify the driver of obstacles or avoid them on its own if being driven autonomously.
The inside of the car is all the future which, according to the video, involves lots of bright orange and holding hands with your boyfriend/husband/whatever as you cast longing looks and coy smiles in his direction. The steering wheel is part of a robotic arm that can move from the traditional driver’s side over to the passenger side rather than making you get out of the car to switch drivers. It also tucks away forward when in autonomous mode and can even serve as a table.
When you’re not riding along holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes, you might want to take a little spin on one of the electric two-wheel mini cars that come with the Rinspeed Budii. They’re housed in the back of the vehicle, along with safety helmets, and can be easily accessed through automatic retractable drawers.
It’s all very cool, but it’s hard to tell if this is supposed to be a car or a lounge. It’s a little too perfectly slick with it’s fancy orange interior and long list of designer names like Mansory, Schoeller Spinning Group, and Racemark all adding their bit toward the finished product. Somehow, this vision of the future became something that looks more like an ad for Viagra than a preview of the autonomous electric cars that may one day fill our roads. The Rinspeed Budii will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month