July 14, 2024

Rimac Unveils Verne: An Innovative Two-Seat Robotaxi Featuring Sliding Doors, A Unique Round Sunroof, and No Steering Wheel

Less than a week after Bugatti revealed its latest V16 hybrid-powered Tourbillon, CEO Mate Rimac is introducing another new vehicle from a newly established company of his, this time at the opposite end of the spectrum. Meet the Verne, a fully autonomous robotaxi operated by former Rimac employees, scheduled to begin service in 2026. Named after Jules Verne, the renowned author who Rimac claims “envisioned humanity’s potential through extraordinary journeys,” the Verne boasts a charming design and the engineering prowess to match.

Mate Rimac teamed up with two of his “closest colleagues” from Rimac to establish Verne: Marko Pejković, former Chief Strategy Officer at Rimac, serves as Verne’s CEO; and Adriano Mudri, previously Rimac’s Director of Design, is Verne’s Chief Design Officer. The vehicle was unveiled at the new Rimac Campus located just outside Zagreb, Croatia, where the development work was carried out.

Photo: Verne

The Verne robotaxi is built on a custom chassis and was developed in collaboration with autonomy company Mobileye, utilizing the Mobileye Drive autonomous systems platform that incorporates cameras, lidar, and radar sensors. Verne states that the Mobileye platform is engineered for various locations, road conditions, weather scenarios, and even local driving behaviors. Primarily designed for dense urban settings, the Verne is adaptable to various environments.

In contrast to some other futuristic autonomous vehicles that exude a dystopian vibe, the Verne boasts a truly appealing design that sets it apart. It is a two-door compact car with a strikingly wedge-shaped front end, reminiscent of a Lamborghini front merged with a futuristic Renault Twingo. All the autonomous sensors are seamlessly integrated into the design, and the vehicle’s front end gives off a cheerful, illuminated smile. Mudri mentions that the company eliminated conventional “human-driven” features like side mirrors and windshield wipers, enhancing aerodynamics and simplifying the car’s cleaning process.

Open sliding door of a blue Verne robotaxi

Photo: Verne

Each side of the vehicle features a large sliding door that opens to reveal a strictly two-seater cabin; the sliding doors were chosen to ensure they do not obstruct traffic and provide easy ingress and egress. Mudri explains that 90 percent of rides are requested by one or two individuals, prompting the design team to optimize interior space by creating a two-seater configuration. According to the company, the Verne offers more interior space than a Rolls-Royce, with “extra-large” seats that offer five different modes, including one with significant seatback recline and deployable legrests. Additionally, it includes a hatchback trunk suitable for luggage or substantial grocery loads.

The vehicle lacks a steering wheel and pedals, with the “dashboard” serving as a shelf for a curved 43-inch display. (The shelf itself features an attractive design with rose gold accents and stylish speaker grilles.) The fixed center console between the seats houses a touchpad for controlling the infotainment system, USB-C ports, wireless chargers, cupholders, and additional storage space. Also located in the console is the Median, a physical switch used to initiate and conclude the ride, providing users with a sense of control over the vehicle, along with buttons for operating the doors.

Dashboard of a Verne robotaxi

Photo: Verne

The standout feature of the interior is the “Halo ring” circular sunroof, which Verne describes as “unlike anything you’ve seen before, a gateway to new adventures providing fresh perspectives of the cities.” And indeed, it does look remarkable—the overall view from the Verne appears to be exceptional.

Users can personalize their rides through the Verne app or in-car displays, allowing adjustments even before the car arrives. Options for modifying climate control settings, in-car fragrance, and window tint opacity are available, along with a selection of gaming and media streaming apps. The ambient lighting offers various colors, brightness levels, and animations, with preset themes inspired by Jules Verne’s literary works. The vehicle also features a 17-speaker sound system.