The Rinspeed MetroSnap is a glimpse at a possible autonomous future

Would you want to live in this world?
by Greg Potts | Dec 5, 2019
PHOTO: Rinspeed

Had your daily dose of weirdness yet? Not to worry, Rinspeed is here to sate any hankerings.

Back in 2017, the Swiss company gave us a first glimpse at the Snap concept. It was essentially an autonomous taxi pod that could be separated from its skateboard underpinnings. That meant when the batteries were on their last legs after years of hard service, you could simply change the chassis without needing to create a whole new interior section. Sounds pretty clever, right?

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Almost a year later, Rinspeed followed up the Snap with the MicroSNAP concept. This was, you guessed it, a smaller version of the Snap, but it was also one where the taxi pod could be exchanged for a van-like section that would transport goods rather than people around without the need for a driver. Again, the different pods could be swapped out, but this was when Rinspeed announced its desire to have skateboards running around towns and cities that would pick up different body styles along their way.

So, welcome everyone to the MetroSnap—and it looks like Rinspeed has finally figured out how to actually make those swaps happen. It still reckons the modular vehicle is the future, and someone’s now had the idea of rendering Snaps as parcel delivery stations and grocery shops as well as taxis and vans. This really is Rinspeed’s world—we’re all just living in it.

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Apparently, the new ‘Hot Swap’ process will allow the electric pods to be swapped within seconds, like a futuristic and extremely boring Formula 1 pit stop. From what we can gather, a small platform slides the new pod onto the empty skateboard, while cameras and sensors stop the whole process if anything gets in the way.

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Rinspeed says that this is the 26th concept car in its history, although we can’t help but pine for the bonkers creations of old times. This insistence on making pod-based autonomous boxes is actually making us rather sad. What about you guys?

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NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: Rinspeed
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