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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Productivity on the go with driverless car that turns into an office

The office-space provider Regus and the Swiss automotive company Rinspeed are set to unveil their version of a car that turns into a fully connected office at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
The XchangE, which will be displayed at the Geneva Motor Show in March, allows the front seats to swivel backwards, creating a work and meeting space for four people. Courtesy photo
The XchangE, which will be displayed at the Geneva Motor Show in March, allows the front seats to swivel backwards, creating a work and meeting space for four people. Courtesy photo

Commuting between Abu Dhabi and Dubai for meetings is, let’s face it, an often inevitable evil that eats into the working day.

Laptops balanced on knees or attempts to peck out important emails on an iPhone are tricky at best.

Autonomous, or driverless cars, are now promising commuters the opportunity to increase productivity while on the go. The office-space provider Regus and the Swiss automotive company Rinspeed are set to unveil their version that will turn a car into a fully connected office at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The design of the XchangE car allows the front seats to swivel backwards, creating a work and meeting space for four people. The infotainment system means passengers can connect to their office and work productively.a

“Autonomous cars no longer require drivers to watch the road, so there’s an opportunity to make more meaningful use of their time,” said Frank Rinderknecht, Rinspeed’s chief executive.

Under its Regus Express strategy, the office provider has already embarked on a number of ventures to enable people to toil outside traditional workspaces.

In a previous partnership with the oil giant Shell, Regus last year announced its plan to install work hubs in 70 petrol stations across Berlin, in addition to one work hub on the motorway south-west of Paris. Regus has two other partnerships in the United Kingdom, with Extra Motorway Services and Staples stationery stores, to try out the idea there. It also has hubs on the rail network in The Netherlands and France.

“A consultant or sales rep could fit in seven to eight hours of productive work each day, using a driverless vehicle, Regus hubs on motorways, and our network of business centres,” said Andre Sharpe, Regus’s global product and business development director.

Research conducted by Regus suggests that businesses that offer flexible working to staff see benefits. In a survey of 20,000 people globally, 75 per cent of those who responded said that flexible working boosts productivity.

Regus and Rinspeed did not say if or when the XchangE would go into production. For now it is something to daydream about as you gaze out the window of a taxi hurtling down Sheikh Zayed Road.

lgutcher@thenational.ae