Autonomous driving

In the near future “autonomous driving” will become a reality Rinspeed unveiled its “XchangE” concept at the 2014 Geneva motor show. While the major automotive manufacturers are fine-tuning the technology, the Swiss dream factory Rinspeed is putting the “people in the car” at the centre of the „XchangE“ study. Sika is fully involved in this innovative vision of the future.

If cars drive themselves - how should the car interior be designed so that passengers can best use the time saved by not driving?

Resting while the car is driving itself

The “XchangE” seats in this fully electrically powered touring limousine resemble the comfortable adjustable seating in airline business class. The passenger of the future will be able to sit or rest in almost any upright or relaxed prone position, selecting from over 20 different seating configurations.

The XchangE concept offers many different navigation, entertainment, personal assistance and service functions which appear on four displays.

Displays informations on widescreen format

There is a 1.2 metre wide strip in the steering column displays important information in widescreen format. A 32 inch 4K monitor at the rear of the car converts effectively the interior of the XchangE to a comfortable UHD “car cinema” when required. The infotainment system communicates with cloud data via an integral LTE module. Deutsche Telekom’s “Business-2-Car” platform compiles and analyses all of the vehicle and infotainment data.

Plenty of light while reading and surfing in internet

The futuristic design of the fully-upholstered interior fosters a unique feel-good atmosphere with a maritime charm in different shades of blue and grey. Natural materials like merino wool and silk are used for individual comfort zones. A revolutionary Plexiglas roof provides a futuristic look and plenty of light and along with the many other Plexiglas components in the front and rear panels, side sills and the rear spoiler, were fixed and sealed using Sikaflex® adhesive.

Mobile office or conference room

The XchangE is a Tesla-S development and as well designed to be used as a mobile office or conference room on the move. The time saved by „not driving“ yourself, can therefore be spent in many different ways: reading, listening to music, surfing the internet, playing video games, watching high definition films, or holding meetings at 120 km/h or completing paperwork, and whilst brewing a fresh espresso at the same time.

But there is no legal basis for “fully automated driving”. The 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, which forms the basis for the National Traffic Laws in many countries around the world, only allows partially automated functions. However, the necessary vehicle licensing regulations and product liability issues to amend these are already being discussed in detail by the relevant legislative authorities, governments and the insurance industry.

Driverless cars will be ready for the road in the next 4-6 years. Test vehicles fitted out with an autopilot prove that this is so. Current developments are focused on the following five core areas:

  • Sensors for 360° all-round detection
  • Redundant system architecture
  • Functional reliability preventing malfunctions and hacking attacks
  • High-definition precision maps
  • Legal regulations

Automated driving of the future

Furthermore the following factors are crucial for efficiency on the road:

  • anticipatory driving ability
  • knowledge of obstacles such as road works, traffic flows and traffic light cycles
  • adaptable driving behavior and speed

Many concepts which incorporate these factors in their approach also already exist.

“Automated driving of the future” will include all of above elements and will therefore make driving a restful travel experience. When automatic control and support systems remove many decisions from us and do operate effectively, errors will become increasingly rare. And as a result the number of road accidents will fall significantly.