Rinspeed and its founder, Frank Rinderknecht, believe that autonomous cars are part of mankind's future. That said, neither the company nor its founder think that autonomous cars will be perfect, although they should prove to be less fault prone than humans.
This, in Rinderknecht's estimation, will mean that: "The transition from traditional to autonomous driving will take place in stages. Consequently, man and machine will still have a few years left to get used to this new form of mobility and the different interplay between people and technology it will entail, time they both will need".
Indeed, even if self-driving cars become perfect, we may not want to give up driving entirely.
The Rinspeed Budii is designed to fit just such a scenario. According Rinspeed, the Budii can take the pain out of regular, boring weekday commutes by steering itself. In self-steering mode, the Budii's steering wheel, which is mounted on a swinging robotic arm can, can be stowed behind the car's large central touchscreen.
For more enjoyable weekend drives, the steering wheel can be swung out in front of either the left or right seat, allowing the Budii to be left- or right-hand drive on demand.
Rinspeed has yet to provide details about the Budii's electric drivetrain. The company is expected to release more details about the Budii in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 Geneva motor show on March 5.