The Rinspeed Etos is packed full with cool features.
Thanks to its 9 high-definition exterior cameras for tracking surrounding objects, the Rinspeed Etos can operate autonomously. While on the road, it automatically links to the city infrastructure for traffic information and even cell phone reception.
Switch to a manual driving mode and the steering wheel will extend out of the dashboard, and the vehicle’s gaze-tracking system monitors their eyes to ensure constant alertness.
A neat little extra – a drone and a landing platform for it, consisting of 12,000 individually controlled LEDs, are included.
Inside, the Etos is equipped with two curved 21.5-inch Ultra HD widescreen monitors that serve as the gateway between the occupants and the Harman Connected Car infotainment suite. The technology acts like a courteous personal assistant, anticipating the needs and wants of the people inside while also providing ‘perfect entertainment.’ Even better, the system learns as it goes, predicting appointments, adapting to personal preferences, and reducing the amount of manual entries the driver must input. If you must be bothered with entering in an address or changing a preference, you can do so with touch, voice, or gesture controls.
Few of these features strike us as strictly necessary, and the most outlandish of them (we’re looking at you, drone) will likely never be implemented on a production automobile. And what features do will likely find their home in more accommodating vehicles than a two-seat sports car. But show cars like these are made to capture our imaginations, and the Rinspeed Etos has clearly done exactly that. We’ll look forward to seeing it at CES and at the Geneva Motor Show to follow.
Most prototype self-driving cars are designed for comfort, not performance. After all, wouldn’t you want to take the wheel if you really wanted a thrill? Rinspeed thinks there’s a case to be made, though: it just teased the Σtos, an autonomous sports car concept. The vehicle still has a steering wheel for those hands-on moments, but the controller automatically retracts into the dashboard when you’re content to let the car do all the hard work. Two curved widescreen displays also move closer into view in this mode, and there’s even a drone (complete with a landing pad) that could deliver goods or record your adventures on camera.
Like with many Rinspeed concepts, this is all a bit pie-in-the-sky — the odds are that you won’t see an Ʃtos in your garage any time soon, if ever. There will be a real-world example of it at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, however. And even if it’s just a theoretical exercise, it’s a reminder that self-driving cars don’t have to be exclusively about getting from point A to point B. You could eventually see sports cars that give you full control when you’re on a race track, but take the reins when you’re wading through traffic on the way home.