It’s called the MicroSNAP, and following on from last year’s Snap concept, the principle behind the two is simple enough. Rinspeed says “Skateboards” (chassis) and “Pods” (bodies) are only temporary companions for brief periods,” with various types of bodies free to use whatever Skateboards are available based on demand.
For example, if a shop calls up a delivery, a “robot station” pairs a van-like Pod with a Skateboard and sends it on its way. If the same Skateboard is then needed to transport passengers, it makes its way to them via another station that swaps the van body out for one that can accommodate passengers.
This means Skateboards and Pods can be serviced and upgraded independently of one another—a more efficient way of doing things, as the Skateboards will have a shorter service life than the Pods, says Rinspeed. It clearly hasn’t seen what happens to the insides of Grab cars on Friday nights...
Rinspeed says “a startup is now on the drawing boards and talks with investors are underway to put the ‘Snap’ on the road.” At CES, it’ll display the MicroSNAP alongside a “functioning robot station that joins and separates chassis and bodies—while charging them at the same time.”
The future of urban mobility, or more pie-in-the-sky thinking from the Swiss purveyors of automotive lunacy?
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.