Rimac Verne Unveiled: First European driverless Robo Taxi

Jun 26, 2024

Less than a week after Bugatti unveiled its new V16 hybrid-powered Tourbillon, CEO Mate Rimac is introducing a completely different car from his newly formed company. Founded by Mate Rimac along with his close colleagues and friends from the Rimac Group—Marko Pejković, now CEO of Verne, and Adriano Mudri, the designer of the Nevera and Chief Design Officer at Verne, is set to begin service in 2026.

With the Nevera, Rimac (pronounced Rimatz) has created the fastest electric sports car in the world. Often seen as Europe’s answer to Elon Musk, Mate Rimac has become a key electric vehicle developer for major companies like VW, Hyundai, and BMW, and recently took the top position at Bugatti. But that’s not enough for him. Since 2019, he and his two friends, Marko Pejković and Adriano Mudri, have been working on another ambitious idea: autonomous driving and finally we can see the results. 

Verne is a service platform and a business concept that aims to finally make the vision of driverless taxis a reality outside the USA.

Rimac Verne is unlike anything currently on the streets. It’s built on a specially designed platform in partnership with MOBILEYE that fully embraces the autonomous-only concept, featuring no steering wheel or pedals. A key feature that makes Verne stand out in an urban environment is its unique proportions. The vehicle's distinctive shape comes from an inside-out design approach and a focus on safety. Verne combines a smooth, spaceship-like canopy with a sleek and sturdy lower body.

"We achieved a very sleek design despite having more components than regular cars," says Mudri. "We integrated cameras, radars, short and long-distance lidars, and their cleaning systems. We simplified the appearance by removing features like windshield wipers and side-view mirrors, which improves aerodynamics and makes cleaning easier. One traditional element we kept is the trunk, so you don't have to worry about carrying luggage or groceries."

The design blends the comfort of an executive limousine with the compact size of a small car, something that has never been done before.

The central element of the Verne project is a car with a strikingly contemporary design. Its windshield is slanted and flat, similar to the Tesla Cybertruck. It features sliding doors that open to the front, thanks to its short overhangs. A circular window set into the roof resembles the portholes of Jules Verne's submarine, “Nautilus.” However, the new Verne concept from Rimac is not a space capsule on wheels or a toaster, as designer Adriano Mudri humorously refers to the autonomous minibuses designed for maximum space in urban shuttle services. Instead, the vision for Verne draws inspiration from luxury cars like Rolls-Royce and the Mercedes S-Class. The idea is for Verne customers to arrive in style, without paying more than a typical taxi or Uber fare, and to enjoy the same level of comfort and space as a luxury sedan.

Mudri and the team at Verne designed the interior with only two seats because 90% of the time, only one or two people are travelling. The seats are wide, comfortable, and can be adjusted to a reclining position using a small touchscreen in the control panel between them.

Despite its luxurious features, the Verne lacks something crucial: it doesn't have pedals or a steering wheel—it exclusively operates autonomously. Instead, Rimac has installed several lidar sensors and cameras on the vehicle, supported by software from the Israeli company Mobileye for its autopilot system. For customers, Verne offers a win-win right from the first trip, assuring Pejković: "We aim to not only transport people safely and comfortably from A to B but also to give them back lost time. What used to be wasted travel time can now be valuable for rest, work, or relaxation—all in complete privacy."