In the past, the robots in the factories of this world merely assembled cars for people. In the new "Budii" concept car from Swiss automotive visionary Frank M. Rinderknecht the machine now literally reaches out to man: if the occupants of the autonomously driving electric vehicle feel like having some fun at the wheel on a twisty country road or off road, a robotic arm will hand the steering wheel to the driver of front passenger as desired, thereby transferring command. The sensitive 7-axis unit from Augsburg-based market leader is more than merely a steering column, however. In theory, it will make endless adjustment options possible: for example, during automated driving in the daily commute it parks the steering wheel in the center with minimum space requirements or it serves as a table or attentive personal valet. This is made possible by the unique and multi-redundant "steer-by-wire" technology from Paravan.
For the automotive idea factory Rinspeed the robotic arm in "Budii" is a symbol and food for thought at the same time. Rinspeed-Boss Rinderknecht puts it as follows, referring to a joint study with consulting firm EY: "The autonomously driving car will require more than solving technical problems and legal issues in the next two decades. We not only have to redefine the interaction of man and machine, but must also raise questions about responsibility, tolerances and expectations." According to Rinderknecht, autonomous driving will undoubtedly offer the opportunity to make traffic more people-friendly and reduce the number of traffic accidents worldwide. "But even the best technology will not be perfect, albeit less prone to error than humans. That is something we will have to accept," says the boss of the Swiss powerhouse of automotive ideas Rinspeed. "We should not develop a blind, but rather a healthy trust in the new capabilities of the hardware and software."
"In the future, cars will do just as we do: they will keep learning every day, and as a result will get better and better at mastering the complex challenges of modern-day private transport." To this end, "Budii" will take information from its surroundings, its own "experiences" and those of other vehicles along its route into consideration. The long-term result will be a cognitive and intuitive autopilot. The Swiss company will demonstrate what such a "friend on wheels" could look like with the trans-urban SUV "Budii" at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.