First unveiled last month at the 2016 CES in Las Vegas, the Rinspeed Etos (Ʃtos) concept is about as far out as vehicular design study can be.
The Rinspeed Etos holds true to many of the ideas laid out when the car was just a drawing. It’s still a BMW i8 and it’s still rocking a drone helipad under its rear canopy, although now the landing zone is loaded with LEDs so you can display images.
The technical highlight in the interior of the Etos is no doubt the folding and retracting steering wheel from ZF TRW. As if by magic, it disappears in the dashboard in a few seconds. This creates lots of space in front the driver who can grab and read a book in comfort the old-fashioned way or can work in a relaxed atmosphere. The position of the two curved 21.5-inch Ultra HD widescreen monitors is individually adjustable to provide an even better view of the displayed contents.
A matching fit is provided by the unrivalled infotainment experience that the innovative Harman Connected Car technologies conjure up in the vehicle. Just like a personal assistant, the system thinks along, is courteous, anticipates needs and on top of that provides perfect entertainment, connectivity and maximum safety. Destinations, route selection, tourist attractions, refueling, parking, making phone calls, music, videos or personal preferences – with every mile the Etos gets to know the appointments, wishes and needs of the occupants better and in a flash proactively offers up the particular fitting selection options.
A total of eight HD exterior cameras visually monitor the vehicle surroundings completely. This makes impressive 180-degree panoramic views in front of the vehicle and behind possible and provides virtual “exterior mirrors” with an expanded field of vision that has no blind spots. People and objects in the entire vehicle surroundings are detected and tracked automatically. If they represent an accident hazard, the driver receives an appropriate warning. In tricky situations such as in parking garages, the so-called “Curb View” is activated automatically. It offers a “direct” view of the front wheels and thus helps prevent unwanted contact with curbs or other obstacles. The vehicle navigation also offers entirely new detail views. In parking garages, it directs drivers directly to a previously reserved parking space. Along the route, it displays realistic 3D images of buildings, trees, bus stops, subway stations and other distinctive waypoints.
The roads and lanes have been scanned with pinpoint precision – an essential prerequisite for autonomous driving. Linking information about the route and the cell phone reception results in the passengers in future not only knowing where and how long they can expect to make phone or video calls without interruption, the technology also allows smooth media streaming as well as efficient and targeted vehicle updates. The seamless link to the traffic infrastructure such as traffic lights or traffic management systems and to other cars, especially emergency response vehicles, lets drivers and the vehicle look far beyond their own horizon and even through obstacles.
The so-called ‘E-Horizon’ provides innovative safety and convenience features such as precise warnings of wrong-way drivers or simply gliding along smoothly in sync with the phased traffic lights. Speaking of seeing: The gaze-tracking system of the Etos permanently monitors the driver’s eye movements and as a result, the vehicle not only knows what the driver has seen, but also what he has failed to see. This allows custom tailoring the displayed warnings and notifications. For precisely this reason, the electronic exterior mirrors only display an image when the driver consciously checks them. The HMI was designed and programmed by Luxoft. Georg Fischer Automotive supplied the aluminum lightweight-construction frame for the three displays.