One thing is certain: It is precisely these changes and tomorrow’s possibilities that Swiss powerhouse of ideas Rinspeed now makes tangible and real with the self-driving Etos concept car.As always, the Swiss mastermind approaches the mega topic of “self-driving cars” primarily from the perspective of the driver and the occupants, the human component. And as always, he garnishes his concept with a host of inspiring and emotionally appealing highlights. In so doing, the automotive thinker together with consulting firm EY expressly puts one question on the agenda that is bound to occupy us for quite some time: How much human component should, must or may there be in a machine? Everyone involved realizes that answering this question requires merging expectations, tolerances and acceptance. There are countless unsettled issues, for example the morals and ethics of a machine, that need to be resolved. In addition, the means for the technical realization also must be developed. Rinderknecht ventures a prediction: “This process will likely lead to an adaptive, learning and intuitive control software. But it will be a long rocky road.”
The technical highlight in the interior of the “Ʃtos” is no doubt the folding and retracting steering wheel from ZF TRW. As if by magic, it disappears in the dashboard in a few seconds. This creates lots of space in front the driver who can grab and read a book in comfort the old-fashioned way or can work in a relaxed atmosphere. The position of the two curved 21.5-inch Ultra HD widescreen monitors is individually adjustable to provide an even better view of the displayed contents.
The elegantly and futuristically styled “Etos” – on the technical basis of the BMW i8 – is a sustainable but also a fast racer. The deep black and shiny 20-inch Borbet GTX aluminum rims leave no doubt about that. They give the body an imposing visual width and provide perfect handling on the track. To make the athlete as light as possible, Corning manufactures the glass roof and the “drone pad” in the rear from especially strong, lightweight and thin Gorilla glass, the same kind used in smartphones. The aluminum front structure and the carbon fiber passenger cell are joined together with ultra-high-modulus adhesive from Sika.
The inviting interior, designed jointly by innovative textiles supplier Strähle+Hess and Stahl Company, the surface specialist for leather and synthetic substrates, forms an unusual and striking compound of natural leather with a variety of characteristics, patterns, functions and surfaces with the equally versatile textiles and piping. This creates a sporty and yet relaxed feel-good atmosphere, adorned with the embroidered skyline of San Francisco. As in past years, Schoeller Spinning Group supplied the high-tech threads for the interior.
The 3D effect finish of the paintwork on the front panel from Barlog plastics creates an exciting and striking visual bridge between the headlamps.
And then tradition merges with innovation: Above it all rises the mechanical Patravi Traveltec clock from Swiss Manufacture Carl F. Bucherer. It sits in a highly prominent position on the dashboard inside a rotating housing that moves automatically to wind the mechanical movement. The delicate housing resembles an airy arch. The camera integrated into the clock support pans directly to the driver or front passenger during video calls. Communication could hardly be more beautiful!
Polymer specialist Rehau developed the innovative lightweight-construction dashboard support and the clever bracket for the luggage shelf with detachable umbrella holder. A particularly efficient electrical heating system from Eberspächer provides cozy warmth in the interior. It also preheats the battery and offers a convenient auxiliary heating function. In keeping with the times, operation is by smartwatch or smartphone. The batteries of the “Etos” are equally state of the art. Thanks to sophisticated technology from EVA Fahrzeugtechnik, they can also have a secondary purpose as a stationary energy storage unit when needed and consequently account for the requirements of the environment.
Connected cars are de rigueur nowadays. In the “Etos,” Rinspeed partners demonstrate what is possible in the area of connectivity today and tomorrow: When it comes to data, perfect transmission and reception quality is essential not only for autonomous driving. The highly advanced octagonal flat antennas from Vites integrated into the glass roof play a crucial role to this end.
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