Home » Rimac’s Verne Robotaxi Is The First Autonomous Vision Of The Future That Makes Sense

Rimac’s Verne Robotaxi Is The First Autonomous Vision Of The Future That Makes Sense

Rimac Autonymous Taxi Ts2
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From building electric hypercars to stewardship of Bugatti to developing next-generation EV tech for major automakers, Rimac certainly has a unique set of talents. However, the firm’s next project might be its most ambitious, most difficult one yet. This is a ground-up autonomous electric taxi called Verne, and it should be hitting the streets of Zagreb in 2026. No existing cars with stuck-on sensors here.

Right off the rip, this electric autonomous vehicle features a bubbly, compact design that looks at least somewhat friendly. Perhaps automotive design has featured too many aggressive silhouettes as of late, because although the Verne isn’t as puppy-adorable as say, a Geo Metro convertible, it strikes a non-threatening pose, even when bathed in a blueish shade of silver. The forward-sliding doors are a nice touch, and it’s neat to see a PIN pad on the B-pillar, which will presumably be used for access.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

While the form factor of a two-seater sounds strange, there’s a good reason for the Verne to adopt it. Rimac claims that most taxi rides only involve one or two passengers, so building a two-seater makes a lot of sense. Unless you’re a messy human who thrives off of chaos, you probably aren’t taking an Uber Pool or sharing a cab with strangers.

Rimac Verne Interior 1

Likewise, the seats echo the differences between an autonomous vehicle and a human-driven semi-autonomous vehicle by looking more like loungers than traditional automotive buckets. With no need to fit a driving position, why not kick back and be comfortable with footrests and plenty of recline?

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Verne Interior 2

Speaking of kicking back, check out the 43-inch display atop the dashboard, ready to fill passengers’ entertainment needs. Unusually, it’s controlled by a touchpad in the console, and while that setup hasn’t been massively successful in other cars, you won’t have to operate the touchpad while driving this one, so it might actually work.

Verne Doors Open

Because it’s a real autonomous vehicle, the Verne doesn’t need to be bothered with such human necessities as side-view mirrors and windshield wipers. After all, a sophisticated sensor suite including radar, lidar, and cameras has different cleaning needs than a windscreen, and without a steering wheel onboard, going without these assemblies simplifies things a touch.

Verne 2

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Through the Verne app, riders will be able to preselect things like cabin temperature to ensure that every ride is more or less the same. Of course, maintaining that comforting McDonald’s-like familiarity will require regular cleaning of each vehicle, so they’re expected to return to a type of home base once a day for check-ups, recharging, and cleaning.

Verne 4

As for the concept of an automated taxi itself: even setting feasibility aside, it has pros and cons. On the one hand, autonomous taxis could put skilled taxi drivers out of a job. On the other, ride-hailing apps have turned what used to be a skilled task into something anyone with a driver’s license and a new enough car can do, and the results draw some concerns. According to Uber’s 2019-2020 U.S. safety report, that two-year timespan saw 3,824 reported instances of sexual assault involving Uber trips, with 61 percent of reported victims being riders. Keep in mind, those are just reported events, and that the true number could be greater. Needless to say, this is a problem. Eliminating drivers from the equation may have the potential to reduce these awful numbers.

Verne 3

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In any case, the Verne Level 4 autonomous taxi seems like it could be a promising experiment in autonomy. After hitting the streets of Zagreb in two years, expect fleets to come to the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Middle East over the following years. There’s no word yet on whether or not we’ll see it in North America, but we’ll keep an eye on the project as it launches on real streets.

(Photo credits: Verne)

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Nick Fortes
Nick Fortes
14 days ago

Hopefully no one with back problems ever has to reach down and operate that door handle that is 8 inches off the ground

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
14 days ago

I guess they’re not familiar with the Ernest/Vern commercials…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7EoPGfnuT0

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
15 days ago

Way too lux to be a cab. Every surface should be hoseable to be a hack.

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