Previewed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Audi Aicon Concept is a peek into the driverless electric future that will be upon us soon. If you take a look at what it looks like from the outside though, it’ll drop your jaws before its steering and pedal-less cabin spooks you. Should you be worried about carrying a charger cable for your transportation needs, fret not, because the four-door Audi Aicon Concept can cover 700 – 800 kilometres on a single charge!
Unlike a robot taxi, the Audi Aicon has the presence of a personal vehicle and extends 17.9 ft in length, 6.9 feet in width, and 4.9 feet in height. At 11.4 feet, its wheelbase is 240 mm longer compared to the present day Audi A8 Limo. Observe it closely and you’d notice large glass surfaces at the front and back, a distinct edge that runs along the sides towards the D-pillar – a first in automotive design, and strongly flared wheel wells which house 26″ wheels to emphasise Audi’s Quattro DNA. Like the E-Tron Sportback concept, the Aicon features an inverted hexagonal singleframe, which is a typical feature of upcoming electric features from Ingolstadt.
The Audi Aicon concept ditches conventional lighting and instead, features fully digital display surfaces which comprise of hundreds of triangular pixel segments. Grouped around the singleframe up front are large light fields, in which – as at the rear – more than 600 3D pixels are arranged in space. The large surfaces and high pixel count replace traditional daytime running lights and can display versatile graphics, animations, and information visualizations in any colour to warn pedestrians or cyclists of dangerous situations. Another smashing addition
Another smashing addition is those horizontally cut lighting segments which look like eyes and can expand to resemble wide pupils or contract for a squinted and aggressive look. If the car detects passers-by on the road, it literally makes eye contact with them and follows them with its “eyes!” Horizontally moving stripes of light move from the bottom up when the car accelerates and in the opposite direction when it brakes, their speed increases or decreases in sync with the car. Moreover, the Audi Aicon uses projector modules to illuminate the road and surroundings in high resolution to project signals onto the ground. This enables it to communicate warnings and vehicle information to passersby with no direct line of sight to the car. The Aicon has been fitted with laser and radar instead of conventional lights, enabling it to see in the dark and detect any possible obstacles.
Since there is no B-pillar, doors open to the front and rear. Seats inside can swivel and move about in many directions like a lounge chair and thanks to the absence of a conventional motor, the front and back lids provide a combined storage space of up to 660 litres. The driving interface is an empathetic electronic vehicle assistant, which recognizes the passenger by his phone to activate all personalised settings. To engage with the car, one may pick between a haptic-manual layer, voice control, or let the system track your eyes. A large screen up front and multiple gadgets inside allow passengers to either work, be entertained, or simply take a nap as there’s no driving to be done.
The Audi Aicon will roll its wheels in an era when all cars on the road will be connected to each other, journeys will be smoother thanks to intelligent autonomous systems which will ensure the flow of traffic is disciplined and clutter free. Powering the Aicon are four electric motors, two each located near the front and back axles, powered by solid body batteries integrated into the area below the floor. Together, the four motors generate a total of 348 hp and 550 Nm, where each power source drives an individual wheel. Oh and the time taken to charge is considerably less compared to the systems we see today, where the Aicon’s battery can be wirelessly recharged to 80% of its capacity in less than 30 minutes.