Swiss automotive vendor Rinspeed is bringing a modular next-generation autonomous prototype to CES 2020: a pod-type chassis that can swap between transporting people or goods.
The modular pod system, called MetroSnap, is a swapping system for vehicle bodies that uses different vehicle bodies either for transporting packages, delivering food or delivering people to destinations. Rinspeed said because of the flexibility of the modular pod system, it reduces the number of expensive and short-lived automated vehicles.
Some use case examples of the pod vehicles include customer-accessible parcel stations that are dropped off in a customer’s neighborhood for a period of time, a corner food shop or a new method of carpooling.
Batteries inside the electric vehicle are split between the pod and the chassis, so it does not need to be parked for charging. Instead, the charging process takes place while the pod is being cleaned or loaded. This method of “hot swapping” allows the vehicle bodies with the included batteries to swap out quickly like a pit stop in car races.
The MetroSnap concept is designed to meet the needs of future smart cities, the supply chain and passenger transportation.
Rinspeed is partnering with a number of companies that are working on digital services for the MetroSnap concept vehicle. MHP is providing an intelligent mobility ecosystem for automated multi-modal transport solutions while SAP is providing a digital platform for machine learning and the internet of things (IoT). ESG Mobility is bringing fleet management system supported by AI through smart connectivity apps while Wirecard from Aschheim is enabling secure payment and processing options.
Audio giant Harman is focused on the digital cockpit of the prototype vehicle while lighting vendor Osram contributed micro-pixel LEDs and interior lights to adapt to the mood of the driver and help with health tracking functions.
The world premiere of MetroSnap will take place at CES 2020 on Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas.