On the outside, autonomous vehicles will look almost identical to today’s vehicles, but there is a lot of room to dramatically change the interior. Since drivers no longer need to spend all of their time paying attention to the road, Rinspeed has asked the question: how will the interior of a vehicle have to be designed to let the now largely unburdened driver make optimal use of the gain in time?
“So far hardly anyone has taken this to its logical conclusion from the perspective of the driver. After all, traveling in a driverless car will no longer require me to stare at the road, but will let me spend my time in a more meaningful way,” stated Rinspeed’s boss Frank M. Rinderknecht.
Rinspeed sought to answer this question with the XchangeE concept, which has an interior that looks more like a living room than a car. The standard seats from the Model S have been swapped out and in exchange Rinspeed has installed new seats reminiscent of the relaxing business-class seats of major airlines. The new seats can tilt and swivel with more than 20 possible seating arrangements. Also, since the steering wheel isn’t needed all the time, the futuristic TRW steering wheel can slide out of the way.
Now that you’re now riding in more comfortable seats, what would make you enjoy the ride even more? Flipping the seats around the rear allows the driver and front passenger to watch movies on a 32-inch screen, which is one of four screens in the XchangE concept. The XchangE concept is also fully connected to the outside world via Car-2-Car, Car-2-Object technology and an LTE network.