By all accounts, the autonomous car is coming — and soon. By 2020, nations from the U.S. to Singapore will likely have self-driving cars on roadways. These road-aware vehicles will theoretically do away with nearly all traffic collisions and reduce traffic congestion. Quirky auto designer Rinspeed, however, has fixed its considerable talent on another aspect of the autonomous car: just what to do with the passengers.
Since driving will predominantly be done by the vehicle, passengers (even those in the driver's seat) won't really need to stare blankly out the windshield anymore. Instead, Rinspeed suggests an interior that functions more like a lounge than a driverless taxi. As the front seats of their XchangE concept car swivel around a full 180 degrees, the steering wheel drifts to the center of the dashboard, allowing you to recline towards the windshield. The back seat can also fold down, revealing a 52-inch gesture-controlled 4K-resolution display.
Passengers will be able to settle in for a good movie or finish up some work they hadn't quite gotten to at the office, all while looking up through a pair of brilliant, LED-lined Plexiglas roof panels covered in a "Radiant" surface coating that reflects light in all the colors of the rainbow. If you're getting sleepy, the XchangE can even brew you up a nice cup of cappuccino.
All in all, Rinspeed's concept, conceived as an evolution of a Tesla model S, features a record-breaking 20 different seating configurations — two of which even let you take the wheel from each of the front seats. The XchangE will be on show at the Geneva Motor Show next month.