Rinspeed Ʃtos Concept is Full of the Future

A.I., autonomy, a folding steering wheel, a drone, a dance floor… it’s all there.

byJonathon Ramsey| PUBLISHED Feb 18, 2016 6:45 PM
Rinspeed Ʃtos Concept is Full of the Future

Rinspeed is an automotive think tank based in Zumikon, Switzerland that shows up to the Geneva Motor Show every year with a curious concept; last year we got the BMW i3-based Budii and its seven-axis robotic arm, the year before that came the Tesla-based XchangE and its living room ambience. This year a BMW i8 supplies the canvas for the Rinspeed Ʃtos concept, which we’ll hereby refer to as “Stos” in honor of the Greek pronunciation of “Ʃ.”

Sticking with the autonomous theme for a third year, Rinspeed’s big innovation for the Stos is a folding, retractable steering wheel that slides into the instrument panel when the coupe is set to self-driving mode. That gives the driver extra space to do things that aren’t driving, like flying the DJI drone nestled onto a built-in Gorilla Glass landing pad behind the rear window.

Infotainment brings just about the best of everything, displayed on two 21.5-inch ultra-high-definition widescreen monitors. The software learns your preferences and daily routine. The cellular system checks for reception along any pre-planned route, letting you know in advance where you might drop an audio or video call. “E-Horizon” speaks to other cars, emergency vehicles, and infrastructure to inform you of hazards or the best speed to roll through a phased set of stoplights.

Eight cameras outside the Stos provide 180-degree breadth of vision front and back, and track people and objects outside the car automatically. One of their specialties is “Curb View,” the digital substitute for curb feelers; if you do kiss the concrete the 20-inch Borbet rims wear a protective titanium edge. Cameras in the cabin watch the driver’s eyes, posting warnings on the monitor taking into account what the driver hasn’t seen. They also activate the external side mirrors only when the driver is looking at them. Speaking of those mirrors, they contain NFC hardware for making payments with little more than a contactless swipe.

When it’s party time, that drone landing pad on back of the Stos is fitted with 12,000 individually controlled LEDs, enabling it to act as a “visual dance floor” or an electronic message board. We’re not sure who you’d want to send messages to in the air above, but you’ll have a lot of time to figure that out. It’s not like you’ll be busy driving…