Swiss manufacturer Rinspeed has unveiled the quirky Snap concept ahead of the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
The concept, set to be revealed in Las Vegas next January, couples an autonomous 'skateboard' chassis with interchangeable body 'pods'.
Those pods could be designed to fulfil a range of roles, potentially allowing people to convert their Snap from a practical delivery van to a comfortable passenger car by simply swapping bodies – like giant, Swiss automotive Lego. They could also, theoretically, be used as portable office spaces when they aren't attached to a chassis.
Rinspeed's idea behind the novel setup is simple; as technology advances, the computer hardware in cars is becoming obsolete faster than ever before. To illustrate the point, the company uses the example of in-house navigation systems, which are usually hopelessly outdated by the time the car reaches its second owner.
Above: The Rinspeed Oasis concept, displayed at CES this year.
The company also suggests this "irritating" problem could "quickly become a matter of safety in the near-future in self-driving cars".
Rather than allowing the march of technology to make an entire vehicle obsolete, the Snap would allow owners to swap their 'pod' onto a new 'skateboard' as autonomous or powertrain hardware advances.
This isn't the first time Rinspeed has taken a novel approach to autonomous driving, or electric cars. The futuristic Oasis debuted at CES this year, and was described by the company as "kind of like a trendy buddy of Star Wars icon R2-D2.″ With a table, television and sideboard inside, we'd argue it's more like a tiny autonomous living room on wheels.
Is the Snap's interchangeable chassis/body a good idea?
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