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BMW i3 Goes Autonomous With The Rinspeed Budii Concept

Carbon-fiber EV gets the autonomous touch.

What happens when you take a BMW i3 and pack it with a dizzying amount of autonomous driving technology? You get the Rinspeed Budii, which is set to debut at the upcoming Geneva auto show with wheel-well-filling 19-inch alloys and a wide body kit.

Part of the autonomous equation is a roof-mounted telescoping laser scanner, which can extend from the roof by over 2 feet to supplement a high-resolution camera in mapping out the terrain and looking for obstacles. The system will also scan the road for imperfections and adjust the ride height and air suspension accordingly.

The Budii’s steer-by-wire system allows for a fancy steering column that either folds out of the way or doubles as a table during autonomous driving mode. Its infotainment system continuously learns the driver’s habits and preferences, while other tech goodies include wireless charging for smartphones and “Vehicle-to-X” technology with Near Field Communication capabilities that allow for wireless and automated tasks like paying for parking. Rinspeed commissioned Mansory to help craft the garish and orange interior.

The multimodal part comes courtesy of two electric mini vehicles. Essentially a take on the Segway personal transporter, the two-wheeled vehicles are housed behind the front seats and are used for the first or last leg of the journey.

Rinspeed doesn’t mention any mechanical tweaks, so the Budii is likely powered by the same 170-hp electric motor found in the i3. And with all the heavy gear, the Budii likely won’t be as quick as the tuner’s autonomous creation from last year’s show, the Rinspeed XchangeE concept that was based on the Tesla Model S.

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