The idea of the Swiss automotive visionary Frank Rinderknecht, presented this past October as a concept sketch, has become a reality. The Rinspeed Etos concept car will be displayed as a world premiere at the CES Consumer Electronics and Technology Show, and in March, presented to the automotive public in Geneva.


A key feature distinguishing the car's body from the BMW i8, which was its inspired the concept and lent Rinspeed the powertrain and technical conception, is a landing pad at the rear for the drone that enables the driver to record the driving or interesting details in the surroundings and forward the footage to online friends. The sketch did not allow to make out that this is essentially not merely a 'mini heliport', but in fact a large screen consisting of 12,000 LED's that can transform it into a light panel or something similar. It was developed by Weidplas, a Swiss company. A similar screen is also featured on the rear window, and the seats are also equipped with LED's.

The most notable element of the passenger space is the steering wheel that will retract into the dashboard when the vehicle is in autonomous driving mode. The driver and the passenger are also able to customise two 21.5-inch ultra wide screens or simply read a book or relax in other ways. Entertainment is provided by the Harman Connected Car infotainment system that is capable of anticipating the passengers' wishes. If the client wants to control the system further, it will react to voice commands, hand movements and touchscreen and button presses.

In addition to the drone, the car monitors its surroundings using 8 video cameras combined to create 180 degree images of the area in front and behind the vehicle and even views 'around the corner' onto the wheels and other areas that risk being damaged while parking, for instance. Precision commanding of the vehicle is possible thanks to the navigation system as well, and it also assists the driver in finding free bays in car parks. The system will also detect the movement of the driver's eyes, not only learning what the driver has noticed, but also what he or she failed to see, and this provide a timely warning of any dangers. Of course, there are many other state-of-the art accessories.

Among other features, the Etos will be equipped with the GTX Borbet aluminium wheels, which enhance the performance and improve controllability. In order to minimise the weight of the car in spite of the many accessories, the glass surfaces of the roof and landing pad are made of Gorilla glass, and the carbon fibre cockpit is attached to the aluminium front end by using ultra strong glue.

Dec. 22, 2015 Driving photo: Rinspeed

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