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Drivers superfluous at Geneva Motor Show


Drivers superfluous at Geneva Motor Show

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An annual pilgrimage for motor fans, the Geneva International Motor Show features some 130 new models and concept cars presented to its more than 700,000 visitors.

From the most surreal designs to those inspired by old-fashioned racing cars, there was something for everyone. But the name of the game for the future is without doubt the autonomous car.

According to its manufacturer Swiss company Rinspeed, the Budii car takes the concept of shared driving between computer and driver to a whole new level. Radars, lasers and other sensors allow it to operate fully autonomously. In the event of an emergency, it takes full control.

“Well it’s a new technology and we’ll start to get used to it. It’s like the Internet 20 years (ago), it was also a little bit scary. Today digital natives don’t know anything else but the Internet. So it’s a matter of generations, of adaptation to be into that technology,” said Rindspeed CEO Frank Rinderknecht.

The Budii is also equipped with a telescoping laser scanner, which emerges from the roof and works in combination with a 3D camera to keep an eye on the traffic, the weather and the terrain ahead, allowing the vehicle to automatically adjust the ride height and suspension accordingly.

And who needs windows to drive a car? That is, if the car actually has a driver. According to ED Design, the Italian makers of the Torq autonomous race car, windshields will be replaced by video screens to make it more aerodynamic, and drivers will be replaced by computers. Cameras placed along the outside of the racer provide a 360 degree view on video screens inside. Powered by four electric motors, the vehicle is capable of completing 12 laps of the famous Le Mans race circuit on a single charge, and its inventor hope it will compete there in ten years time.

Volkswagen was showing off its vision of the future for the upwardly mobile unafraid of exhibiting their success with its mustard-coloured hybrid sports coupe inspired by models of the past. The Sport Coupe GTE Concept boasts LED headlamps and a three-litre V6 engine that can propel it from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in just 5 seconds.

Production is set to start in Germany and China, and the level of demand will dictate whether it will also be built in the U.S.

Inside the car, the set-up allows the car to measure the driver’s mood by monitoring his biometric data and select a route accordingly.

“What we see behind us here is a plug-in hybrid 4-door coupe,” Tobias Suhlmann of the Exterior Design Team told euronews. “What we wanted to create… you can see the silhouette of the car, it’s very smooth, there’s a very fast backwards-running C post and it’s very dynamic shape-wise if you look at the silhouette of the car. We have a very dramatic body side with a lot of muscles over the wheel arch.”

And American finance magnate and supercar maker James Glickenhaus revealed his new supercar the SCG 003. Built around a carbon fiber chassis, it will be available in two flavours – the road-going S model and the race-only C model (which stands for ‘Competizione’), which will be racing at the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race in Germany in May.

The track-dedicated version of the car went on sale at Geneva, while the road version will become available for purchase later this year. Prices start at a sweet 2.1 million euros.

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