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CES Premiere 2020: The new Rinspeed MetroSnap concept from Ibeo ensures safe autonomous navigation

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The future belongs to modular mobility systems. That is evident in the number of imitators in the industry that have picked up Rinspeed’s ingenious idea. However, the systems also have to make economic sense in order to gain broad acceptance. And that is precisely where Rinspeed is now once more taking a crucial step ahead: In the “MetroSnap”, Rinspeed presents a simple, fast, safe and inexpensive swapping system for the vehicle bodies for which the Swiss company has filed for patent protection.

Modular vehicles can help solve a majority of the problems and questions posed by modern mobility that arise as the result of new IT technologies such as autonomous driving and of traffic congestion and the associated inefficiency and air pollution. Due to the flexible use of different vehicle bodies, these vehicles not only reduce the number of tremendously expensive and systemically short-lived automated vehicles, but they also satisfy – depending on the time of day and current needs – the different transport requirements of people and goods.

Thanks to the unique swapping system – inspired by aviation, and tried and tested there around the world in all weather conditions – entirely new applications become possible. 

Future Mobility as Customer Focus

Among other things, the desired service now comes to the customer quickly and simply, regardless of where he or she may be at the time – at home or at work. This can be customer-accessible parcel stations that are dropped off in the customer’s neighborhood for a certain period. Even combinations with a “corner health food shop” are conceivable. Limited business hours, long drives and the endless and unpopular courier caravans are thus things of the past.

Automatic Navigation

And quite as an aside: no more unattended packages, no more thefts and failed delivery attempts – and no more associated pollution and traffic burden. And the really great thing about it is: This innovative way of getting parcels to the customer faster and easier can already be used today with a human driver. Parcel stations on wheels, right around the corner.

Because the batteries are split up between the “Pod” (vehicle body) and the “Skateboard” (chassis), the vehicle does not need to be parked for charging. The charging process takes place elegantly and without wasted time while cleaning or loading the “Pod.” The Swiss drivers of innovation refer to this as “Hot Swap”, the swapping of the vehicle bodies including the batteries in a matter of seconds – the vehicle is ready to go almost as quickly as a racecar after a pit stop.

The unique “MetroSnap” concept, which fuses together smart city, supply chain and passenger transport, is meeting with very strong interest in the industry even before its actual premiere. The Rinspeed motto at the CES 2020 is ‘customer focus.’ The customer – and thus people – take center stage. Because Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht is sure: “People desire ever more convenience and simplicity in their lives, and we want to make this possible with our innovative transport solutions.”

“The vehicle is a great example of what sustainable urban mobility can look like,” says Dr. Ulrich Lages, CEO of Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH. “Besides more time for the important things that occur while driving, autonomous electric vehicles can ensure significant relief in metropolitan centers because these vehicles are intelligently networked and navigate autonomously from A to B. As a result, passengers get to their destinations quicker, and customers receive their consignments on time.”

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