dates : 10th April 2005
16th April 2005
driver and not the technology should be the focal point of
a car," observes the head of Rinspeed, Frank M.
Rinderknecht, summing up the fundamental idea behind his
latest concept car offering: the "Senso".
The "Senso", which runs on environmentally
friendly natural gas, has, not without reason, been
labeled the most sensuous car in the world. The "Senso"
actually "senses" the driver by measuring his
(or her) biometric data, and then exerts a positive effect
on him with the help of patterns, colors, music and
fragrances. A person who is relaxed and wide-awake simply
drives better and more safely.
The whole project is based on an elaborate sensory system
that forms the heart of the vehicle. It consists of a
number of sensors that have the job of gathering data
about the driver's condition.
Firstly, there is a biometric Polar watch to measure the
driver's pulse. A "Mobile Eye" camera records
his driving behavior, in other words how well and how
often he changes lane, and how close and at what speed he
approaches the cars in front. Then - this, at any rate, is
the vision - a HP board computer evaluates the data and
establishes, with the aid of special algorithms, the
driver's current state of mind.
The developers of the concept car speak, not surprisingly,
of "Zen-sorial" – with reference to Far
Eastern meditation. On the basis of the measured data, the
driver now receives various impulses to his senses that
put him in a state of relaxed attentiveness.
It is all made possible by an innovative
electroluminescent film technology developed by Bayer
MaterialScience and the Swiss electronics specialist,
Lumitec. This "smart surface technology" is
celebrating its world premiere in the automotive industry.
Johannes Seesing: "In the "Senso", we are
showing what breathtaking possibilities this new
technology can open up for car designers. The glowing
material can be made into any shape and does not need
electric bulbs or LEDs." The high-tech surface is
computer-controlled and, depending on the applied voltage,
shines green, blue or orange.
But the "Senso" not only has inner values. It
would, after all, not be a Rinspeed if it did not have a
radical - perhaps even controversial – design, too. In
particular, the clear-cut, no-nonsense design of the
interior puts the driver very much in the spotlight.
The driver sits alone in the middle of the front row,
flanked behind by two Recaro passenger seats covered with
Italian designer fabrics from Xmobil. On the subject of
design, the use of carbon parts in both the interior and
the exterior gives the overall car a cool, technical look.
The carbon components were custom-made by hand at MP
The exterior shape of the vehicle borrows from the world
of architecture, structures man has created over the
centuries. As such, it creates a tension-filled dynamic
between moving and non-moving objects. The two-part
structure of the rear end is reminiscent of bold roof
constructions and deep chasms between ranks of
skyscrapers. The interplay between smooth curves and sharp
edges evokes attractive industrial architecture.
A breathtaking body such as this naturally needs to be
clad in extravagant accessories that are not simply
available off the peg: The eggshell matt special effect
finish on the "Senso", which was produced using
coating raw materials developed in Bayer's laboratories,
is truly custom-made and only available this once for the
Rinspeed "Senso". A soft-feel clear coat of the
same shade in the interior additionally provides a
pleasant, soft-feel surface.
Clean performance - the power
The 1'385 kg lightweight "Senso" is powered by a
3.2-liter boxer engine from the Porsche Boxster S,
modified for its service in the "Senso" to run
on gasoline and natural gas. As a result, emissions of
harmful CO2 are reduced by as much as 30 percent. This is
because natural gas is an extremely clean burning fuel,
consisting almost entirely of methane with virtually no
sulfur. The engine produces 250 bhp/184 kW at 6'200 rpm
and has a maximum torque of 300 Nm at 4'600 rpm. A manual
six-speed transmission transfers the power to the rear
axle. The "Senso" accelerates from 0-100 kph in
5.9 seconds and has a top speed of 250 kph.
An optional FBI Bio Drive by
Genesis Technology with integrated finger print
recognition stores all personal data of the driver and
allows an individual adjustment when starting the vehicle.
Car Torque is