Self-driving car a mobile office

DAVID MCCOWEN
Last updated 06:18 21/02/2014

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Self-driving cars could see the home office take to the road as motorists delegate driving duties to their vehicles.

Increased connectivity and the ability to commute without driver interaction will change the way people use their cars, and Swiss off-beat design house Rinspeed aims to capitalise on that with a mobile workspace developed in tandem with Regus office outfitters to create the XchangE.

Based on the electric Tesla Model S sedan, the XchangE's front seats swivel to face the rear "to create a mobile work and meeting space".

Set to go on display at March's Geneva motor show, the creators of the XchangE say their car is ''a comfortable and confidential space that turns a traffic jam on the way to the airport into productive time at the office''.

Rinspeed chief executive Frank Rinderknecht, says many drivers will benefit from self-driving cars.

"Autonomous cars no longer require drivers to watch the road, so there's an opportunity to make more meaningful use of their time," he says.

Cars with self-driving features are already on sale, though some experts predict fully autonomous cars are decades away.

Regardless, Rinspeed is not the first car maker to peddle a mobile office. Holden Special Vehicles had a crack with the Calais-based SV88 of 1988 that offered mobile phone and fax machine options that added $6800 to the car's $40,850 sticker price.

More recently, Bentley built a mobile office for its Mulsanne limousine that includes DVD screens, iPads, an in-car computer and a wireless keyboard.

Rinspeed's XchangE is the latest in a long line of wacky concept cars that have become a staple of the Geneva motor show.

The outfit's 2013 show car was a collaboration with clothing retailer Zalando that could recognise designer clothes on pedestrians, buy them electronically and have them delivered into the back of their car. 

The brand previously showed off the Chopster, a reworked hot rod based on the Porsche Cayenne SUV, the Senso, which adapted to driver moods by changing colours and fragrances and the zaZen, a Porsche Boxster adorned with Swarovski crystals and Ferrari headlights.

More recently, Rinspeed offered the Lotus-based sQuba submersible car, the BamBoo beach buggy with an interior made from plant fibre and the UC, a Gen-Y focused hatch for the Playstation generation that used a joystick in place of a steering wheel or pedals.

-Fairfax News Australia

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