Could this be a present-day interpretation of future mobility?

Anytime a car, no matter who it’s from, is described as a “trendy buddy to Star Wars icon R2D2,” you know that it’s going to be well past the conventional line. And so it is with Rinspeed’s Oasis self-driving concept, a prototype vehicle that isn’t so much a traditional car, but more like a mobile living room.

The Oasis will make its debut at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. But, as early as now, Rinspeed is giving us a good, long look at its interpretation of what future mobility could look like. While it does follow the traditional template of what a car is supposed to look like in the sense that it has four wheels, it’s far from the kind of car that populates the roads of the world today.

For one, it has an unorthodox look that does away with the traditional body panels in favor glazed panels throughout the body. It also has several quirky features that sound good when you look or read about it. A small green space for growing flowers? Yep, the Oasis has one just below the windscreen.

The car is obviously a concept in every sense of the word. It’s unlikely to be seen on public roads anytime soon and even down the road, there’s no rationale that can objectively make a case for it to be built for mass production. But, as far as being an unconventional concept is concerned, the Oasis fits that slot to a tee, right down to the body-hugging armchairs in the cabin.

Continue reading to learn more about the Rinspeed Oasis.

Exterior

2017 Rinspeed Oasis Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The swooping front section and the flat rear is a common design trait of modern-day hatchbacks.

&euroThere’s a school of thought that promotes unconventional ideas as a proper exercise of creativity. On that note, I’d say Rinspeed worked up a serious sweat in giving life to the Oasis. To say that it’s unique is an understatement. Sure, the swooping front section and the flat rear is a common design trait of modern-day hatchbacks, but Rinspeed went beyond those qualities by giving the Oasis some unique design traits. The hoodless front section is defined by a wrap-around bumper that also doubles as the fenders and the wheel skirts that completely cover the front wheels. The same design was applied to the rear bumper with the only noticeable difference being that the rear wheels aren’t completely covered. Apart from these, the body is predominantly made from glass, broken only by what appears to be some kind of energy-storing panel on the roof.-Solar, perhaps?

Rinspeed says that the Oasis is a car that can serve a variety of functions. Company chief Frank M. Rinderknecht even says that it can be “a shopping cart in the morning, a shipping services counter for a parcel service in the afternoon, and a pizza delivery vehicle at night. Considering the many doors the auto industry is opening these days with the advent of new technologies, it’s hard to argue against those functions for the Oasis, especially if you’re talking about a car that counts turning on its own axis as one of its core features. It may not be the sexiest ride on four wheels we’ve ever seen, but its versatility is definitely something that’s worth putting its name in the news.

Interior

When I first made this review for the Rinspeed Oasis back in October 2016, I mentioned that the concept’s unquestioned bright spot was its interior. Now that Rinspeed has bared more details about the concept, it’s comforting to know that nothing much has changed in that regard. The interior really is…something else.

Let’s start with arguably the most ridiculous feature any automaker, established or otherwise, has put inside the interior of a concept. I’ve seen humidors inside concepts. I’ve seen “web lighting” inside concepts. But a garden? An actual garden inside a car that can grow vegetables or Bonsai trees? I know that Rinspeed’s probably going looking for over-the-top reactions to this garden, and for what it’s worth, that’s exactly what it got from me.

Beyond that, the cabin of the Oasis is still packed with plenty of absurd features, which in itself is surprising considering the lack of significant space it has. For one, I don’t know how many times I’ve imagined the interior of a car being turned into an actual living room or work space, but that’s exactly how Rinspeed presented the Oasis. Look at those armchairs first. I’m not good at visual renderings, but those look to be two of most comfortable armchairs in the history of renderings. Turns out, they’re made by GF Automotive, renowned for making lightweight car components. There’s also a sideboard and a TV, which really takes the whole living room-inspired styling to a literal level. There’s even a tray table because future cars apparently need tray tables too.

Fortunately, the Oasis also features traditional car components like the multi-function steering wheel that can actually be folded flat and get turned into a keyboard or work surface. Ok, so it’s not really a traditional steering wheel, but it’s still a steering wheel regardless; it just gives a different meaning to its multi-functional description. Take for example situations wherein the wheel is folded. According to Rinspeed, the Oasis turns into a self-driving office on wheels, “complete with Office productivity software and Skype video telephony with live translation.” It goes on about how occupants can even share news on social media and use the car’s windshield - yes, the windshield! - as a massive screen that can accommodate virtual and augmented realities. Oh and there’s also a code-protected “drawer” in the rear that can be cooled or heated as needed. In other words, it’s a fridge. It’s a car with a fridge in the back. I’d sign up for that.

On the tech side, Rinspeed also developed the idea of the Oasis having its own mind with Harman LIVS technologies (Life-Enhancing Intelligent Vehicle Solutions) that allows occupants to actually sue the car as a social media assistant of sorts. The Harman system is complemented by a curved 5K widescreen display with voice- or gesture-control. Occupants only need to instruct the system to perform various functions like reserving a seat in a restaurant and the system makes the reservations itself.

Drivetrain

The car is touted as a self-driving EV concept so I guess it’s going to be powered by electricity. Oddly enough, Rinspeed made no mention of the car’s powertrain, which likely points to the reveal happening at the CES show in January 2017. That roof though is a peculiar feature because of its physical characteristics that remind me of solar panels. Maybe there’s a two-pronged approach to powering this car that Rinspeed has yet to mention. Stick around then for the full details when it hits the Vegas in 2017.

Conclusion

2017 Rinspeed Oasis Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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I’m fully aware that when it comes to concepts as far-reaching as the Rinspeed Oasis, the common practice is to take them with handfuls of salt. On both hands. I will do that, although I also have to admit that I got intrigued about what Rinspeed is selling here. A compact, self-driving EV that comes with a well-appointed interior may be the dream car that I didn’t know would be possible until now.

  • Leave it
    • * It’s a concept
    • * Power and range are question marks
    • * Unlikely to hit production

Press Release

Photo Credit: Rinspeed

You can count on Swiss automotive visionary Frank M. Rinderknecht when it comes to reimagining mobility. With the Rinspeed concept vehicle “Oasis,” the ingenious self-driving electric vehicle for the city and surrounding areas, he refutes the deeply ingrained notion of the urban jungle that requires SUVs the size of battle tanks for the daily struggle for survival. His alternative concept: a maneuverable speedster with an integrated small garden plot behind the windshield.

The Rinspeed boss therefore challenges the martial appearance with mobile urban gardening. With its large glazed areas and shrouds on the front wheels, the refined and swift two-seat runabout looks rather futuristic and is somewhat reminiscent of a modern interpretation of famous Star Wars icon R2D2. They both can turn on their wheels with almost a zero radius. In the case of the “Oasis,” thanks to a special steering angle, two in-wheel electric motors and torque vectoring, all developed by ZF on Lake Constance.

The self-driving Swiss vehicle is not a wallflower or strictly functional like the Google Car, but rather “next gen” - with a host of technical and visual treats inside. Because in keeping with a great tradition, the twenty-third Rinspeed concept car was again engineered by Swiss company 4erC and executed by Esoro.

Speaking of inside: The ultimate eye-catcher is the small garden with enough space for growing radishes or even little Bonsai trees. Automotive supplier Kostal adds the element of nature to the car to make it a true third space. “Home+Garden” becomes “Car+Garden” - brought together by a custom removable planter.

The small garden plot is just one of features that creates a new living space in the interior of the car. Armchairs, sideboard and TV provide a modern living room ambience in white. Everything looks welcoming and inviting, thanks to the efforts of the innovative Swabian textile developers at Strähle+Hess, and Dutch company Stahl, the world market leader in leather and synthetic surfaces in automotive interiors. Together, they created a remarkable ensemble of natural, functional leather with various designs and surfaces complemented by textiles with bright edging highlights. For this purpose, Schoeller Spinning Group supplied an all-new highly elastic wool yarn. Also worthy of note are the elegant aluminum seat bases from GF Automotive in bionic lightweight design, the futuristic retractable air vents, and the multi-purpose storage box from Dr. Schneider Unternehmensgruppe. The floor is made from real wood, and created by the specialists from MeisterWerke. All adhesive bonds in and on the “Oasis” are realized with innovative adhesives from Sika Automotive.

Always a step ahead: In the “Oasis,” the journey becomes the destination

An eerie quiet around the football arena, but the activities on Twitter show: Injury time is almost up and tens of thousands of fans will soon flood the streets. The Rinspeed “Oasis” is equipped with Harman LIVS technologies (Life-Enhancing Intelligent Vehicle Solutions), which put it always a step ahead, and its finger on the pulse of the social web - the “Oasis” has long since planned the alternative route.

The “Oasis” lets its driver know that several Facebook friends with similar tastes have recently liked a new restaurant that just opened nearby. A quick ‘Ok’ signaled to the personal assistant of the “Oasis,” and the table has been reserved. That fast.

To interact with the Harman system, the occupants use a slightly curved 5K widescreen display with voice- or gesture-control that spans the width of the “Oasis” in front of its passengers. In manual mode, it presents the most important information in condensed form. The images of the electronic rearview mirrors are dimmed when not needed.

The steering wheel from ZF folds flat and thus turns into a keyboard or work surface. The car thus becomes a self-driving office on wheels, complete with Office productivity software and Skype video telephony with live translation. The personal assistant not only knows which of the occupants is talking to it at the time, but also in what language the occupant speaks. The “Oasis” passengers are able to exchange and share interesting news on social media channels by using swiping gestures. In keeping with a ten-year tradition, a mechanical Carl F. Bucherer watch is integrated on the steering column. What is more: On the “Oasis,” the new Manero Flyback is rewound by the steering motions.

The next business trip begs. After dropping its owner off at the airport, the “Oasis” chauffeurs a nice couple who had searched for a ride on Facebook into the city. After dropping them off at their destination, the “Oasis” goes on Twitter to let the owners’ friends know that it is available for use at any time. They are able to summon it via WhatsApp and other social media apps. Two days later, the “Oasis” returns to the arrivals terminal of the airport, thanks to Harman LIVS punctual to the minute and unperturbed by potential flight delays, traffic jams and long lines at the baggage claim.

Curtains up for the evening entertainment with viewing enjoyment in CinemaScope, accompanied by the Harman Kardon 24-channel sound that virtually follows the passenger as the seat glides into the fully reclined position. The personal assistant takes a photo of the stunning sunset in passing - the “Oasis” keeps a diary and if desired also acts as a travel blogger to keep the Instagram followers up to date.

Feeling like taking back the wheel? Gladly - after passing an automatically administered fitness and alertness test.

By the way, the personal assistant is also at the driver’s disposal outside the car. Thanks to a link to the Harman Cloud Platform, it allows controlling the owner’s smart home from the “Oasis,” for example. Always a step ahead, it takes care of the lights and the wellness climate as the situation demands. BlackBerry QNX supplies an integrated and certified secure and protected software platform for self-driving vehicles.

The windscreen serves as a giant display for virtual and augmented realities. Holographic laser projection technology developed by WayRay allowed to make area covered by displays significantly larger than in conventional head-up display used today. US Company Techniplas, a specialist for cognitive and networked products, developed the multi-functional rear window. It integrates not only the usual lights at the back of a car; it also serves as a display panel for the integrated clever micro delivery box. It can even be cooled or heated as needed. As a special touch, the box was sized to fit a power bank form EVA Fahrzeugtechnik, which increases the range of the “Oasis” when circumstances demand.

When it comes to automotive lighting, Rinspeed relies on proven Osram quality. The manufacturer supplies the powerful LED headlights and the two projectors in the front surround. The LED ambience lighting with reading lights integrated into the headliner comes from Forster Rohner.

The who’s who in the use of the vehicle

Who will own the car, who will operate it and what will it be used for? Rinspeed boss Rinderknecht has designed and equipped the car to keep all conceivable options open - if society is willing to share goods in a beneficial way. “Oasis” can be a shopping cart in the morning, a shipping services counter for a parcel service in the afternoon, and a pizza delivery vehicle at night. A digital access system from German supplier Huf makes it possible.

Apart from consulting firm EY, which contributed a study on the individualization of mobility, the masterminds behind the “Oasis” also include TOG-Tübitak. The Turkish research center - an institution not unlike the German Fraunhofer Institute - examines issues of tomorrow’s transport in its own mobility lab.

However, even the “Oasis” does need a dash of masculinity: Futuristic 20-inch Borbet Aero Design rims with laser-engraved “Oasis” logo underscore the vehicle dynamics.

Transmitting large volumes of data and information requires perfect connections and consequently is of fundamental importance for autonomous driving in particular. The intelligent antenna systems from Vites integrated into the roof play a crucial role in this regard.

Intelligent traffic management solutions from Siemens help optimize the traffic flow and thereby are a factor in providing more comfort in traveling, minimizing emissions, and enhancing the safety of all road users – for example, by warning road users of an approaching emergency vehicle. The “Oasis” uses different sensors based on NXP technology to capture a 360-degree view of its surroundings with pinpoint precision. Thanks to vehicle-to-vehicle communication, it can even look around corners and obstacles. This sensor fusion is then used to compute the safe driving maneuver.

An innovative app from MHP allows choosing potential passengers by interest or profession. For passionate car enthusiasts who just met, this can make the long drive to the vintage car event a sheer pleasure. The “Mini Mica” from connectivity specialist Harting is a scalable and flexible computing architecture, which uses different modules for adapting the “Oasis” to the particular requirements of the vehicle user, and installs the corresponding technology features. This makes an individualization of the “Oasis fleet” with efficient use of resources possible. The secure transmission of data and information was tested and certified by independent and impartial certification specialist Dekra. Axa Winterthur provides insurance and peace of mind if the unthinkable happens.

Urban gardening on wheels as a new trend? A little bit out there? Maybe. But as always, the creation of Swiss mobility innovator Frank M. Rinderknecht is an oasis for inspiration in the otherwise rather expansive automotive wasteland. On display at the CES in Las Vegas and the NAIAS in Detroit in January 2017, and in spring 2017 - in a manner of speaking, in the Swiss national own front garden - at the Geneva Motor Show. As always, put in the best light by Vollmond Advertising Agency from Saarland, Germany.

The „Oasis“ will be exhibited at the CES Las Vegas in the Hard Rock Hotel inthe Harman Venue from January 4th thru 7th, 2017 and from January 9th thru22nd, 2017 at the NAIAS in Detroit in the ZF booth.

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