Concept cars are perhaps my favorite thing about the auto industry, as they are often used to convey beautiful design and craftsmanship along with futuristic thinking. Few concept cars have been more futuristic than those built by Switzerland’s Rinspeed, and the electric autonomous Budii concept isn’t any different.
There are plenty of wild and fantastical concepts to choose from Rinspeed’s portfolio, whether it be a literal living room on wheels or a Tesla Model S converted into an autonomous massage chair shuttle. In comparison the Budii actually seems almost tame, and bears more than a passing resemblance to the BMW i3; could the electric Bimmer be serving as the base vehicle? Given the all-electric drivetrain and design, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance of that.
At the cornerstone of the Budii is to design a learning “friend on wheels” that is part chauffeur, part personal assistant. It can handle driving and also draw on the experience from past journeys and neighboring vehicles to determine the best way to proceed. If you want to take the wheel for yourself, that’s possible too, though in a unique deviation from convention, the wheel will also be transferable to the passenger. Yes, now you can literally let a friend “take the wheel” whilst in movement, though just how soon autonomous cars will be on dealership lots remains the subject of debate.
Leave it to Rinspeed to take a figurative statement and turn it into reality…at least in a concept car kinda way. The idea might not be practical for the road, but it’s cool as hell to imagine.
Now do you get why I love concept cars so much?