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The new Rinspeed MetroSnap concept from Ibeo ensures safe autonomous navigation

Automated Pods

The new Rinspeed MetroSnap concept from Ibeo ensures safe autonomous navigation

Vehicles that are modular in structure and that drive autonomously are the future. However, the systems must also be economically viable if they are to be sustainable. Together with Ibeo Automotive and other partners, Swiss ideas factory Rinspeed will present a simple, fast, safe, and cost-efficient transport concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 – the Rinspeed MetroSnap. Hamburg LiDAR specialist Ibeo controls the eyes and brain for autonomous driving. Using the solid-state LiDAR sensor ibeoNEXT and the associated localization system, the MetroSnap is also capable of capturing complex situations in city centers with a wide variety of road users. The vehicle features flexible use of different structures, and fulfills different transport demands for people and goods, depending on the time of day and current requirements.

“People are always looking for more convenience and simplicity in their lives – we want to enable this by means of our innovative transport solutions,” explains Frank M. Rinderknecht, Swiss auto visionary and CEO of Rinspeed. “The MetroSnap’s interchangeable pods can also significantly reduce the number of road users on the streets.”

“The vehicle is a great example of what sustainable urban mobility can look like,” says Dr. Ulrich Lages, CEO of Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH. “Besides more time for the important things that occur while driving, autonomous electric vehicles can ensure significant relief in metropolitan centers because these vehicles are intelligently networked and navigate autonomously from A to B. As a result, passengers get to their destinations quicker, and customers receive their consignments on time.”

Autonomous Navigation

The “4D solid-state” LiDAR sensors from Ibeo are the eyes of the Rinspeed MetroSnap. They enable a 360° field of vision for reliable capturing of the static and dynamic environment around the vehicle platform in 4D resolution. This makes the MetroSnap capable of grasping complex situations in city centers involving a wide variety of road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. The Rinspeed MetroSnap is a Stage 5 autonomous vehicle – that is, a human driver is no longer required.

The MetroSnap uses a localization approach from Ibeo that is more precise than regular GPS localization. The system also uses a digital map with landmarks that are utilized by LiDAR sensors for geopositioning. This means that the environment captured by the LiDAR sensors is continuously being compared with the landmarks on the map to determine the exact position of the vehicle.

Future Mobility as Customer Focus

The MetroSnap can be used as a decentralized package station that is made accessible to customers in their neighborhood for a specific period of time, for example. Short opening hours, long access routes and endless, undesirable courier caravans become a thing of the past. Thanks to the distribution of the batteries on the “Pod” (vehicle body) and the “Skateboard” (chassis) the vehicle no longer needs to be parked for charging. Charging takes place elegantly and in a time-efficient manner during cleaning or loading the Pod.

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