With some 2.69 million cars registered in 2016, the number of cars sales in the UK has reached a record high. Creative think tank for the automotive industry, Rinspeed, is challenging the notion of the ‘urban jungle’ – where SUVs have become the norm for many individuals – through the introduction of its concept autonomous vehicle ‘Oasis’ at CES 2017.
At first glance, the ‘Oasis’ is particularly eye-catching: a large proportion of the car is made up of glass paneling and the wheels are shrouded in a bright red material. It is difficult to liken the appearance to that of another object, but the company hints that is a modern interpretation of famous Star Wars icon R2D2.
Perhaps the most stand-out feature of the vehicle is the fact it literally has its own ‘oasis’ at the front of the car. The small garden has enough space to grow radishes or even little Bonsai trees. In our modern world where many choose to ignore the dangerous emissions of their vehicles, the environmentally conscious will be pleased to see this (albeit small) nod to nature.
If gardening isn’t your thing, the ‘Oasis’ also boasts a living space equipped with an armchair, TV and a windshield that can immerse you in VR surroundings. With this concept vehicle, Rinspeed hopes to show how ‘the journey becomes the destination.’ The ‘Oasis’ is also equipped with Harman LIVS technologies (Life-Enhancing Intelligent Vehicle Solutions) meaning that it its passengers can stay up-to-date with the social web as they drive. It can be linked to your social networks which means that, when several friends like a nearby restaurant on Facebook, it can reserve a table with just a simple ‘OK’ from you.
This self-driving car is not just useful for your social life, the steering wheel can be folded flat which turns the ‘Oasis’ into a work surface. Skype video telephony and Office productivity software makes it possible to reach a pressing deadline even on the road. Finally, the personal assistant of the ‘Oasis’ that can make your restaurant reservations is also available outside of the vehicle, thanks to the Harman Ignite Cloud Platform. You can control your smart home from the car.
An OECD study on the usage of self-driving cars in Lisbon found that autonomous cars could reduce the number of cars needed by 80-90%. The ‘Oasis’ has been designed to be a shared resource, on the condition that society is willing to share goods in a beneficial way. Companies such as Uber are already blurring the line between public and private transport with the introduction of UberPOOL. Rinspeed’s concept therefore doesn’t seem too unrealistic.