Wacky Oasis could grow on you
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If your ideal car of the future is one that lets you enjoy a spot of gardening while on the move, this is a concept you'll like.
It's from the Swiss carmaker Rinspeed, which is synonymous with outrageous designs in the automotive world.
This latest model keeps to tradition -- it's fully autonomous, can rotate on the spot, has a steering wheel that flips over to become a desk and even has a garden plot that soaks up the sun behind the windscreen.
It's called the Oasis and it will be showcased for the first time at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas in January.
So what is it exactly? According to boss Frank M. Rinderknecht, the Oasis is "a manoeuvrable speedster with an integrated small garden plot behind the windshield".
The miniature garden sitting between the dashboard and the front screen is the standout quirky feature among "a host of technical and visual treats inside", Rinspeed said.
It's all part of a "Home+Garden" to "Car+Garden" approach by the wacky vehicle designer who said the small space is ideal for growing radishes or small Bonsai trees.
There's also a steering wheel that folds into a desk space when the car isn't being driven. You can even make Skype video calls using a camera built into the cabin.
If you do want to get a feel for the wheel and override the autonomous functionality you can do, but first you have to pass a fitness and alertness test that's administered by the car.
The rest of the interior is designed to be like a living room, but for two people only.
That means it has a wooden floor, swivelling armchairs that can illuminate with your name on them and even sideboards, according to the spec sheet.
And what living room would be complete without a TV? The Oasis doesn't have just one, though -- there's a band of 5K definition screens around the top of the dashboard, hiding the in-car cabbage patch.
As well as harvesting light and heat for the shrubbery up front, the huge windscreen serves as a giant display for virtual and augmented reality information.
A solar panel on the roof powers this mass of electronics.
The final piece of wizardry is the laser-projecting system that beams information from the car itself. This not only alerts pedestrians about the vehicle approaching -- with signs shone directly on to the road -- but also displays calendar entries and reminders to the driver as they leave the car. "Pick up food for the cat" could soon be coming to a footpath near you.
In terms of performance, the one key feature highlighted by Rinspeed is its turning ability.
The Oasis has a 90-degree steering angle and electric motors built into the wheels meaning it can turn within its own radius. Rinderknecht likens it to R2D2 from Star Wars.
Further performance details will be released next month.