Swiss design and engineering firm Rinspeed made it clear last year that its vision of driving in the future is an autonomous one and that cars, rather than being a tool to simply take you from point A to point B, will become an extension of your lounge or office. Now, Rinspeed is taking this concept to the next level with its Budii concept, which is described as a “friend on wheels.”

Rinspeed will unveil its Budii concept at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March, but teasers released today hint at what’s to come. The concept, which looks to be based on a BMW i3, is fully autonomous and also has the ability to communicate with surrounding vehicles. But the concept is also said to be able to adapt to the “habits and preferences” of its owner, although Rinspeed is yet to divulge what exactly that will entail.

Rinspeed, like most of the major automakers, sees self-driving cars as the ideal solution for eliminating road accidents, but rather than permanently removing control of a car Rinspeed prefers to let the owner takeover whenever they like. The steering wheel in the Budii features a robotic arm that enables both the driver and the front passenger to steer. And if nobody feels like steering, the steering wheel is simply parked in the center position. Mercedes-Benz is expected to show a similar concept at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Rinspeed Budii concept, 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Rinspeed Budii concept, 2015 Geneva Motor Show

“Autonomous driving undoubtedly offers the opportunity to drastically diminish some of the drawbacks of private transport; for example, the number of traffic accidents could drop worldwide,” Rinspeed founder Frank Rinderknecht said in a statement. “The transition from traditional to autonomous driving will take place in stages; consequently, man and machine will still have a few years left to get used to this new form of mobility and the different interplay between people and technology it will entail, time they both will need.”

More details on Rinspeed’s Budii concept will be released in the lead up to the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, which gets underway on March 3. Additional coverage of the event can be accessed via our dedicated hub.


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