Rinspeed makes a modular autonomous box called the Snap

For the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, Rinspeed will show its Snap concept, an autonomous car with a flat chassis and modular, removable box body.

Rinspeed has made a name for itself creating some pretty outlandish concepts, including the Lotus Elise-based Squba submersible car, or the Oasis that had a garden full of succulents. For the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show, though, the company seems to have embraced more conventional thinking about future transportation and created an autonomous box called Snap. But a key component that helps separate it from other boxes is that the box can be removed or reattached to the chassis easily. You could say it's a snap, relatively speaking.

Rinspeed touts a few benefits of this setup. The chassis contains all of the electric powertrain components, much like the GM Autonomy concept from a number of years ago, and any other technology that sees extensive wear or could become obsolete quickly. The body simply contains seating for people and the screens for them to connect to the technology. So whenever improved powertrain technology becomes available, or the old versions wear out, Only the chassis has to be replaced, saving money and resources by being able to reuse the body.

Another benefit Rinspeed highlights is the fact that the body can also be removed for a semi-permanent structure that could be used in a variety of ways. The company suggests it could be used as a shopping space, maybe even a food truck. It could also be used as a camper or just a little hangout. It could even be used as a mobile office. It appears removal is reasonably easy with deployable legs that have wheels on the bottom for moving it away from the chassis. They also have little rollers on the edges of the wheels to move it fore, aft, left and right, though wheels on casters would probably be more practical.

Presumably, while the body is removed for one of those stationary tasks, the chassis could be freed up for other tasks. Perhaps it could go pick up bodies that are being used for shipping products. Or it could fetch someone's privately owned body to be moved to a new location.

Inside, the Snap has the prerequisite configurable touchscreens that adjust to whomever is in the vehicle. It identifies passengers with different sensors including an iris scanner. Passengers can have their preferred music playing, surf the web, and select destinations as you would expect.

Thankfully, there are some funky features that feel very Rinspeed. Apparently the Snap is envisioned to have to have an AI-driven robot that can run errands for you. The Snap also features little boxes in which mint and berries grow. We suspect that if this machine ever made it to production, the berries would always be gone. Hopefully there will be at least a few in the Snap when it makes its debut this January at the 2018 CES.