BMW i8-based Rinspeed autonomous car revealed

Radically-modified version of BMW's hybrid sports car learns the desires of its driver - and has a drone

This is the Rinspeed Etos, and it's a re-modelled BMW i8 with a completely new interior, bright yellow paint, an autonomous driving mode, and a landing pad for an accompanying drone.

Its creator, Swiss tuner Rinspeed, has a history of revealing bizarre cars.

The Squba, a Lotus Elise capable of submerging like a submarine, which Car Magazine called "an utterly glorious toy", and the shape-shifting 'iChange' from 2009 which Evo simply described as "mad" are two examples from a catalogue of weird and wonderful cars.

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(Image credit: Dingo Photo)

Now the company has attached itself to the latest cutting-edge technology – self-driving systems.

Underneath, the Etos is still a BMW i8, complete with its carbon fibre monocoque and 362bhp hybrid powertrain. The two most important factors from the donor car remain, but everywhere else there are huge changes.

The styling of the car mixes the leftover i8 design cues with those of the Honda NSX and Chevrolet Camaro, says Auto Express.

Much of the passenger cell strongly resembles the original i8 the Etos spawned from, but some of that car's iconic design flicks, such as the floating buttresses over the rear axle into which the lights are mounted, are gone.

There's a nip and tuck at the front, as well as an entirely new rear end with a longer overhang to accommodate the Etos' party trick.

At the back, on its very own landing pad, sits a drone, decorated with 12,000 LEDs which can transform into an "electronic message board or a visual dancefloor" according to Rinspeed.

As for the drone itself, its uses do not go far beyond fun. Rinspeed claim it can be used to pick up items for delivery or to take "selfies" of the car while it is being driven - or is driving itself.

The full autonomy of the car is overshadowed by the new interior and drone. The inside of the car is "where the magic is," says American magazine Road and Track.

There's two 21.5-inch screens which move backwards and forwards depending on what mode the car is in, as well as a wheel which can fold into the dash or pop back out if the driver wishes to take the wheel.

It is full of "media and technology gubbins", according to Top Gear. The car learns the personality and traits of the driver over a period of time, meaning it can take you exactly where you want without being told where to go.

There's also a gaze-tracking system which follows the driver's eyes and alerts them to any hazards on the road which can be easily missed.

The car will be seen in the flesh for the first time at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month.

Alongside this wild design will be important concept cars from manufacturers such as Audi, Volkswagen, and new start up Faraday Future. Autocar reports that Aston Martin may also bring a Rapide S 'connected car' with them to the show.

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