It’s been over 60 years since engineers conceptualized the world's first autonomous car. Today, self-driving technology is finally breaking into the mainstream auto market – just as the next high-tech auto trends take shape at the Geneva Auto Show.
Swiss automotive think tank Rinspeed showcased one of the show's most divisive concepts, based on an idea to split cars in half. The concept, called the MicroSnap, has an autonomous drive lower section, called a skateboard. The upper section is either a passenger car or delivery truck.
"The chassis, and the bodies - or the pods as we call them - are separated,” said Rinspeed CEO Frank Rinderknecht. “They are being used on the skateboard depending on the need of the certain hour of the day. Meaning that you transport people in the morning or in the evenings, and in the meantime you deliver parcels and so forth."
As cars get smarter, they gather more data for safety and navigation.
Swiss firm Wayray has developed the technology to display live information in a hologram on a vehicle's windscreen.
"This is a navigation experience in augmented reality,” explained Wayray CEO Vitaly Ponomarev. “You can see speed, the distance to the next maneuver. There is a parking experience, where you can see what is free on the parking lots, and how much will it cost you."
Another trend being showcased in Geneva is what's known as 'mobility as a service'.
Berlin-based firm Trafi gas developed an app that calculates a driver’s transport options to reach their destination, and compares them.
"The experience will be that you will have integrated a lot of mobility providers,” said Christof Schminke, Trafi’s Managing Director. “So you're not only having public transit, but you will also see ride pooling service, ride hailing service, taxi, bike sharing, car sharing, everything included on our application."