Snap – Let it click!
Self-driving cars, replete with fast-moving IT components, will help solve traffic problems in the foreseeable future, and not just in urban areas. For this purpose, the Swiss think tank Rinspeed has designed a well thought-out and unique mobility ecosystem with its current concept car "Snap": Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht implements the hardware and software, which is susceptible to aging, in the usage-intensive driving platform ("skateboard") – and separates this from the long-lived passenger cell ("pod"). From now on, both go their own ways – whereby the pod can even become immobile useful: from the variable shopping pod, to the spacious camping pod and the cozy snuggle pod to the breathtaking, fully networked user experience for the occupants of the passenger cabin. Here, only the imagination sets limits to the possible designs.
With this ingenious trick, the Swiss mobility visionary disentangles the very different life cycles of various car components: The skateboard carries the long-lasting mechanics and the IT technology that is susceptible to aging and is recycled after intensive use when it reaches its intended mileage after a few years, while the far less stressed pod can do its job for many years longer before it, too, has to be recycled. This benefits the environment because resources are conserved to a significant extent.
And by the way, the innovative Swiss solve a problem that some people know from the navigation system in their own car: The thing can no longer find its way because the software and map data are outdated. What is only annoying here can quickly become safety-relevant in the self-driving car in the near future.
There's no question that the name Snap says it all, because everything fits together perfectly and can be connected at the click of a button. Following a proven tradition, Rinspeed's twenty-fourth concept car was once again designed by the Swiss company 4erC and technically implemented by Esoro. A comprehensive study by EY on the Snap ecosystem shows its (almost) unlimited possibilities. The e-mobile is – as always when Rinderknecht is at work – packed with technical and optical refinements contributed by a renowned network of global companies. The two steered axles, including the integrated electric drive, are made by ZF. With this, the snap can almost turn on the spot. Is emission-free on the road in city traffic. It does so on equally weight-optimized and chic 7×18 Borbet alloy wheels, on which fuel-efficient 225/35-18 tires are mounted. By the way: all bonding in and on the Snap is realized with innovative adhesives from Sika Automotive.
The city runabout is brimming with sensor technology. The U.S. Company Gentex, for example, contributes the iris scanner for occupant recognition and dimmable window elements in the front and rear, which can also be found in the Boeing Dreamliner. Ibeo from Hamburg uses sophisticated lidar sensor technology to ensure that obstacles on the road are detected by real-time measurement of light reflections. The "Samsung Drvline Autonomous Platform" integrated into the skateboard uses the "BlueBox" sensor fusion solution from NXP to steer the Snap safely through traffic. Secure communication with the outside world, as well as high-speed connectivity to the Harman Ignite Cloud Platform, is provided by the Smart Antenna co-developed by NXP and Harman, which covers the full range of wireless networking via 5G, Car2X, radio reception, BT and WiFi. Sprint, as a leading American telecommunications company, provides the stable networks for this purpose. Chip giant NXP also controls with its highly sensitive pod recognition technology. The individual smart access solution is accompanied by further promising technologies. Europe's leading business software company, SAP, supports digital ecosystems with innovative technologies and software solutions in the areas of smart cities, connected health, connected mobility and transportation. And TomTom provides HD mapping for automated driving and navigation technologies that enable predictive driving for passenger comfort. Finally, the HDBaseT Automotive connection technology from the Israeli start-up Valens is responsible for the fast and reliable transmission of multimedia signals. Secure transmission of even high-resolution multimedia signals between the numerous vehicle components responsibly.
An innovative "Market Place" network from MHP makes it possible to use the variety of pods and skateboards in an individualized way with a wide range of service providers. Also not common for a concept vehicle: The data and information transmission was independently and neutrally tested and certified by the global testing and certification specialist Dekra. And who supplies the power for the numerous consumers?? The power is fed into the vehicle via the fast-charging cable with high-voltage technology from Harting in Espelkamp, East Westphalia.
Harman contributes the "True Level 5" HMI, a control concept perfectly tailored to the needs of changing passengers in a fully autonomous vehicle. Aim of the development: highest possible, automatic individualization with simultaneous optimal protection of personal data. The user is authenticated in three stages, depending on the degree of personalization required: Via Smart Access, the vehicle opens and individualizes the displays; after facial recognition, personal cloud content is available. For example, the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant knows the preferences and habits of each passenger and suggests the right restaurant for all of them. If, for example, the passenger's health data is also to be recorded and evaluated, additional biometric identification is required.
Three displays are available to each occupant for interaction: Individual settings are made via the "Personal Control Panel" with interactive rotary control; personal content and individual notifications appear on the touch-controlled "hover tabs," which are moved into position by a swivel arm; two large central screens offer route information and movie enjoyment. Lexicon surround sound system with Ambisonics Escape provides a unique audio experience for all applications.
The Snap communicates visually with the outside world via six projections: two use the front and rear windshields to send full-color messages to other road users, such as "Right of way granted" or "Attention, children". Four laser projections on the side windows are used for communication with boarding passengers. The necessary functional laminates for the all-round glazing come from the Japanese manufacturer Sekisui.
The attractively designed exterior of the Snap, which is more reminiscent of architecture than automotive design, also conceals numerous technical innovations. For example, German lighting specialist Osram Opto Semiconductors is installing digital license plates and all-round lighting, including interior LEDs that use ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and improve hygiene. Front and rear panels as well as light elements in the side skirts can be equipped with multimedia and functions and come from the U.S. Company Techniplas, a leading developer and manufacturer of advanced mobility products. Safe changing of the pods is ensured by special lightweight supports from the Swiss company Georg Fischer.
In self-driving cars, great importance is attached to the interior's comfort features. For years, Rinspeed has rightly relied on the innovative Swabian textile developers at Strähle+Hess and the Dutch company Stahl, the world market leader for leather and plastic surfaces in automotive interiors. Functionality goes hand in hand with high design standards. Occupants make themselves comfortable on naturally soft leather from automotive leather specialist Bader. Optimal storage space offers the partly even mobile storage systems of the Dr. Schneider group of companies – including cupholders and inductive charging system. The portable storage compartment is also a really clever solution. The surface specialist Benecke-Hornschuch Surface Group can convince with trend-setting, partly translucent materials for seating areas and storage compartments as well as on the floor and as side panels. With traditional Korean sanggam printing for seats. Trim, South Korean upholstery fabric manufacturer Kolon sets interior accents. Well then, lie back and drink fresh tea. The Snap designers have also thought of this! Mint and strawberries grow in mobile urban farming containers from Kostal for homemade and healthy infused drinks.
Snap – rarely has a concept car more accurately described the problems of an entire industry with the different life cycles of various car components – and at the same time also offered an interesting solution. Maybe some of you will like the new creation of the Swiss mobility mastermind Frank M. Rinderknecht marveled at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. As always professionally staged by the Saarland advertising agency Vollmond.