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Friday, February 15, 2008

Rinspeed Senso

"The driver and not the technology should be the focal point of a car," observes the head of Rinspeed, Frank M. Rinderknecht (49), summing up the fundamental idea behind his latest concept car offering: the "Senso". Due to be presented jointly by the famous Swiss automotive design and solutions specialist, Rinspeed, and Bayer MaterialScience, one of the world's largest plastics producers, at the Geneva Motor Show from March 3-13, 2005, the innovative "Senso" was developed in cooperation with the experienced engineering specialist, Esoro. Johannes Seesing (51), who specializes in automotive applications at Bayer, says: "Together with our partners in the automotive industry, we are already carrying out research on the car of tomorrow. The "Senso" is an outstanding example of unconventional ideas and applied lateral thinking."

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. The idea of 'communicating surfaces' stems from Andreas Fischer, a designer who developed the "zenMotion concept" at the Institute for Computer Sciences at the University of Zurich in close cooperation with the Institute for Psychology at the University of Innsbruck. The inspiration for the development came from studies by scientists dealing with the emotional effect of moving patterns on people. In the "Senso" – depending on the condition of the driver - four small Sharp LCD monitors emit stimulating (orange/yellow), relaxing (blue/violet) or neutral (green) color patterns into the driver's line of vision. They are integrated into the futuristically designed interior paneling, which lights up over the entire area and bathes the cockpit in dazzle-free ambient light.

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.

The optical stimuli are reinforced by especially composed sounds stored digitally on a computer. In addition to the eyes and ears, the nose is stimulated, too – by scents developed by the fragrances specialist, Voitino CWS, which flow into the car through the ventilators. Vanilla-mandarin has a calming effect, while citrus-grapefruit is more stimulating. Even the tactile senses are included: should the central computer establish any symptoms of tiredness in the driver, electric motors integrated in the seat will shake him awake by vibrating.

Rinspeed "Senso" - Polarizing opinions

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, no­nonsense 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 Design.

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.

To produce these contours, the makers have used a number of high-tech materials such as the fully recyclable composite for the bodywork. The striking Speedster windscreen is made of high-grade Makrolon® polycarbonate - like the rear end, which is reminiscent of the modern facade of a high-rise building. The window has a scratchproof coating and weighs little more than half as much as a conventional car windscreen. It is also considerably more break-resistant, and opens up entirely new possibilities for car designers.

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 plant

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.

Optimum traction is provided by Continental SportContact 2 tires: 235/35 ZR 19 at the front and 255/35 ZR 19 at the rear. They are mounted on 8.5x19" Barracuda rims at the front and 9.5x19" at the rear.

The futuristic body sits on a chassis specially developed by KW automotive. It can be adjusted in terms of both height and hardness. The chassis engineers have succeeded in performing the rare feat of attaining a perfect symbiosis between drive comfort and sporty handling.

The innovative lighting technology in the "Senso" was developed by the lighting specialist The eight light units awaken associations with scenes from "Star Wars" - Captain Kirk would certainly have enjoyed it, too. The intelligent system sends automatically an emergency call via the GSM network in case of an accident, robbery or theft.

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.

Swiss made


Concept vehicles by Esoro - we consider the extraordinary ordinary. Esoro designs, develops and implements high-quality concept vehicles from the initial idea through to the "ready-to-show" vehicles. Prototypes are fully operable and homologated so that the concept can also be experienced and driven.

An innovative and experienced team is able to handle complex projects very efficiently and in a very short time by the appointed deadline. When doing this, Esoro can fall back on state-of-the-art development tools, an excellent prototype workshop, experience from over twenty vehicle projects and a choice network of component suppliers. In its capacity as prime contractor, Esoro is the direct contact for customers and assumes responsibility for the overall project.

For the sixth time the Swiss engineering company Esoro was hired to serve as general contractor for the entire vehicle project. Esoro was responsible for project management, engineering, design, implementation of new technologies and manufacturing of the Rinspeed Senso. Esoro realised the Senso with its highly competent suppliers Schwaller (Metalworks) and Protoscar (Design).

Lateral thinking, looking at things from a new angle, thinking out of the box and feeding the senses - sight, touch, feel, smell and hearing – these are major elements of the development work that has gone into the "Rinspeed Senso". Its name reflects what it actually does. The "Senso" "senses" the driver and adjusts to him/her. This is especially important as the risk of an accident is significantly reduced, if the person behind the wheel is relaxed and wide awake.

This project also involves a sophisticated system of sensors developed by the Universities of Zurich and Innsbruck. Smart Surface Technology, a new 3D-formable electroluminescent film from Bayer MaterialScience and Lumitec, uses biometric data and other information to create an appropriate level of light for the driver, thereby having a positive effect on him/her.

gasmobil - A Strong Partner

The spread of natural gas as a fuel of choice is supported by the shareholders of gasmobil AG and local natural gas suppliers. Natural gas is a meaningful and environmentally friendly alternative fuel, which can make a significant contribution to the reduction of harmful pollutants, especially in congested urban areas. When combined with CO2-neutral biogas, the pollution emission levels are improved significantly. The most important arguments for natural gas and biogas as fuels: Lower pollution levels compared to gasoline or diesel; better mileage in hybrid versions and therefore also more economical, lighter and cleaner refueling; subsidies for the purchase of any new vehicle in some cantons; manufacturers’ guarantees; and vehicle safety similar to all other passenger cars.

Natural gas and biogas as the fuel of choice - the future is now gasmobil, SwissEnergy and Rinspeed - three strong partners, who develop vehicles for everyday operation and future visions for mobility. The vehicles jointly displayed are fueled by environmentally friendly natural gas or biogas.

Fuel supply - no problem in Europe

Employing natural gas and biogas means taking another step on the way to less crude oil dependence for the world's economy. The tremendous environmental potential of natural gas cannot only be exploited in static use, but also by road vehicles to reduce harmful pollution levels from soot, nitrogen oxide, CO2, and hydrocarbons. Furthermore, natural gas motors reduce noise pollution levels compared to conventional units. These drive technologies are mature and market-tested. It is hard to find a manufacturer which does not have one or more models in its program. In addition to this, the gas station network in Switzerland and the rest of Europe is being developed rapidly. Round-the-clock supply is guaranteed.

SwissEnergy’s Ongoing Commitment

Through its SwissEnergy program, the Federal Office for Energy has been promoting the use of natural gas and biogas for over 10 years. Initially it mainly supported research work. Between 1996 and 2000 SwissEnergy supported a pilot and demonstration project with “Kompogas” vehicles in the region around Zurich. Over 100 vehicles were put on the road as part of the project and the responses by users were very positive.

Meanwhile, the Swiss gas industry has been establishing a network of natural gas refueling stations and the car industry has been expanding its range of natural gas and biogas vehicles. For three years now, Gasverbund Mittelland AG, Rinspeed AG and SwissEnergy have been working closely to promote natural gas and biogas as a motor fuel. The concept cars designed by Rinspeed AG enable the public to visualize the possibilities offered by natural gas as a motor fuel and serve to dispel the prejudices against this young and clean form of fuel that unfortunately continue to prevail.

The use of natural gas and biogas as motor fuels helps to spare valuable resources and generates lower emissions than traditional motor fuels. Natural gas produces around 20% lower emissions per energy equivalent of the greenhouse gas CO2, and renewable biogas fuel is even CO2-neutral.

A word from our technical partners Barracuda / Aerotechnik

Barracuda Racing Wheels - Outstanding Designs

Barracuda’s alloy wheel program presents itself in new and unmistakable designs with fresh and trendy colors. Many individual finishes as chrome, dark, light and shiny silver and outer ring bolt colors are offered.

The basic idea behind every Barracuda product is the uncompromising sportiness, expressed in the very modern stylistic idiom.

The ingenious Japanese American designer Ichiyanagi Satoshi is responsible for many of the creations. He sets lasting trends in the world of alloy wheels in the recent past.

The Voltec T5 wheel shows the uncompromising sportiness of the classic Cup wheel paired with the cool elegance of sparkling chrome. The open building method makes the wheel light weight and shows of the technology of the brakes.

Bayer MaterialScience

Bayer MaterialScience: One of the world’s leading polymer companies

With 2003 sales of around 7.5 billion euros and approximately 18,000 employees worldwide, Bayer MaterialScience AG is one of the mainstays of the Bayer Group. Since the beginning of 2004, the company has been operating as an independent, globally operating company within the Bayer Group. Bayer MaterialScience AG’s activities are focussed on sustained, profitable growth. The company is therefore committed to improving efficiency and, in particular, to innovation and creative system solutions.

The international production network of Bayer MaterialScience, comprising 40 sites worldwide, produces more than 4 million tons of raw materials annually. Proximity to customers ensures short delivery times and flexible service. The main consumers of the company’s products are the automotive and construction industries, the electrical/ electronics sector and manufacturers of sports and leisure articles, packaging and medical equipment.

Among the best-sellers in the Bayer MaterialScience portfolio are the Makrolon®, Makrofol® and Apec® brands of high-quality polycarbonates. These products are indispensable for the manufacture of automotive components, optical storage media such as CDs and DVDs, medical equipment and many products integral to everyday life. For instance, polycarbonate sheeting is used to roof grandstands and train stations, and as transparent outer walls for gazebos and carports.

Polyurethanes have long been indispensable in many areas of everyday life. Polyurethane raw materials are used in applications ranging from mattresses, car seats and insulation for refrigerators to car bumpers and shoe soles. More than a quarter of the total amount of polyurethane raw materials produced globally comes from Bayer. Desmodur® and Desmophen® are important brands. Services provided to customers in this area include the development of customized formulations, technical support for processing technologies and an optimized sales organization operating via systems houses.

Coating systems based on polyurethane raw materials from Bayer MaterialScience have excelled in use on a variety of substrates. They reliably protect surfaces from weathering, they are resistant to chemicals and display first-class mechanical properties. Bayer has long been a pioneer in the development of environmentally compatible coating and adhesives systems, and is committed to extending its technological leadership. The Bayhydrol® and Bayhydur® brands of coating raw materials, for example, have a good track record in waterborne polyurethane coating systems.

Thermoplastic polyurethanes combine the high quality properties of polyurethane elastomers with the efficient processability of thermoplastics. Products from the Desmopan® range are used for films, hoses, cable sheathing, ski boots, athletic shoes and automobile interiors.

The backbone of Bayer MaterialScience’s production is the Inorganic Basic Chemicals Business Unit, which chiefly produces chlorine, but also caustic soda, hydrochloric acid and hydrogen.

In H.C. Starck, Wolff Walsrode, Bayer Sheet Europe and Hennecke, Bayer MaterialScience has four well-positioned specialist companies that are continually developing as independent companies and comprise a valuable adjunct to the portfolio. H. C. Starck can boast expertise in extracting and purifying refractory metals that is unique on the global market, and is also making an important contribution to the mobile energy production of the future in the field of ceramic fuel cells.

Wolff Walsrode is a leading specialist in cellulose chemistry. The company’s products are used in foodstuffs, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, coatings, printing inks and construction materials.

Hennecke GmbH, a manufacturer of polyurethane processing machinery, can draw on many years of experience and offers an extremely broad range of equipment for practically all areas of application.

Bayer Sheet Europe is a provider of high-quality plastic sheeting made, among other things, using Makrolon® polycarbonate from Bayer MaterialScience.


Rinspeed Senso fitted with ContiSportContact 2

The Rinspeed Senso is a concept car which adapts to its driver, thereby ensuring safety and a feeling of ease in traffic. Accordingly, the world’s most sensuous car is fitted with ContiSportContact 2 high-tech tyres - after all, the driving performance should match the vehicle concept. The ContiSportContact 2 is extremely well-equipped for this role - considering it is a sports tyre, it nevertheless offers particularly balanced driving characteristics, ensuring high safety reserves and a comfortable ride.

The ContiSportContact 2 was specifically designed for fast performance cars and provides outstanding steering precision and high cornering stability, even when driving at the limit. Despite its sporty characteristics, this tyre offers a very comfortable ride, so driving long distances is not tiring. This makes it an exceptionally suitable tyre for the Rinspeed Senso. It also boasts best braking characteristics on both wet and dry roads. Thanks to its wide dispersion channels, aquaplaning protection on this tyre is very high.

This sports tyre from Continental is now available for virtually all sports cars and prestige saloons as Original Equipment and from car customizer’s. The impressive size range includes over 100 variations and dimensions, making it one of the most extensive ranges of sports tyres of one brand on the market. The ContiSportContact 2 is also manufactured as a Continental SSR-version. These tyres with runflat capabilities are suitable mainly for Porsche’s, Mercedes’ and BMW’s.

The Continental Group is a leading supplier of tyres, braking systems, suspension components, vehicle electronics and technical elastomers. In 2003 the company achieved a turnover of 11.5 billion euros and currently employs some 73,000 staff worldwide. The tyre business unit is an Official Partner of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany.


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