Audi has unveiled their fully autonomous luxury saloon concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Audi Aicon removes the need for a steering wheel and pedals and provides a spacious and luxurious interior. This striking concept model includes innovations relating to drivetrain, suspension, digitalisation and sustainability. With no need to control the car in the traditional sense, passengers can work, communicate, relax and even take a nap while the car autonomously transports them to their destination.
Spectacular from all angles, the Audi Aicon has an exterior length of 5.44 metres, a width of 2.1 metres and a height of 1.5 metres. This means it is event larger than the new Audi A8L. Large glass surfaces on the front, rear and side create a bright interior for passengers. Strongly flared wheel wells emphasise the vehicles quattro DNA while 26-inch wheels are placed as far outward as possible to underscore the car's impressive stance.
Instead of conventional headlights, the Audi Aicon features fully digital display surfaces made up of hundreds of triangular pixel elements, 3D recreations of the Audi AI logo. Large light fields are grouped around the singleframe and on the rear which enables graphics, animations and informational visuals in any colour. These lights allow the Aicon to adapt to any driving situation.
Horizontal cut lighting segments on the left and right replace the headlights and can be expanded to look like wide pupils or narrowed for a more aggressive look. If the car detects pedestrians or other road users, it literally makes eye contact and follows them with its "eyes".
Animations on the display surfaces warn pedestrians and other road users of dangerous situations. Horizontal stripes move from the bottom up when the car is in motion and in the opposite direction when it brakes. The speed increases or decreases in sync with the car.
There is no need for long range headlights as the Audi Aicon uses a laser and radar sensor system to see, even in the dark.
Opposed doors open to the front and rear and there is no B-pillar meaning the entire interior is shown to passengers as they enter the car. The interior gradually becomes lighter from bottom to top, making the interior seem even more spacious. With no steering wheel or pedals, the two individual front seats can be slid all the way back and are on a platform covered in high-pile carpet. The seats can also be turned by up to 15 degrees. Turning them outwards makes it easier to get in to the car while turning them inward means passengers can talk an interact. If the passengers turn around, the head restraints fold to become and armrest.
As well as numerous storage options in the passenger compartment, there is a storage compartment at both the front and rear of the vehicle with a combined capacity of around 660 litres.
The steering wheel, pedals, groups of buttons and instruments have all been omitted from the Audi Aicon. Instead, passengers will find wide and uninterrupted surfaces. When the passenger enters PIA, the empathetic electronic vehicle assistant, recognises the passengers by their phone and activates personal settings including air conditioning, seat position, interior light colour and the layout of the infotainment system. The navigation awaits entry of a destination and all communication channels are ready for use, connected via the fastest available standard.
Ergonomically positioned touch and display elements feature in the digitised warp-around allowing passengers to set the most important settings without having to sit up in their seats or lean forward. The PIA system is often one step ahead and offers services before the passenger chooses them. Passengers can relax and watch a film, use the internet, join a video conference or use social media.
The technology used in the Audi Aicon concept car presumes a transportation infrastructure in which autonomously driven vehicles are on every street and road users are connected to one another and their surroundings. In this situation, traffic would be less hectic and flow more freely. Long distances could be covered at a constant speed of 80mph and passengers would experience a journey without constant braking and accelerating. Accidents would be history thanks t the highly advanced sensor systems and networking so passengers in a car like the Audi Aicon would not need the traditional restraint systems.
A total of four electric motors are located in the area of the front and rear axles and each drives on wheel allowing electronically controlled quattro all-wheel drive. Maximum acceleration becomes less important and more emphasis is placed on maximum efficiency and range. The powertrain and electric brake units use recuperation to recover energy, and along with a lightweight construction and optimised aerodynamics, helps the Aicon achieve a range between 434 and 497 miles on a single charge.
The high-voltage system allows the battery unit to be charge up to 80% in less than 30 minutes and can also be charged wirelessly, in an AI zone it can pull up to a charging station and charge without any human assistance.
The suspension is designed for comfort, using pneumatic springs and damper units to smooth out any road surface irregularities while electric actuators on all four wheels counteract any lean when cornering, accelerating or braking.