Audi has unveiled its vision for the car of the future – and it doesn’t have pedals or a steering wheel.
Look away now, driving enthusiasts. The new Audi Aicon is one of the quirkiest concept cars coming out of the Frankfurt Motor Show, and it’s easy to see why. The Aicon doesn’t have pedals, nor does it have a steering wheel, which means the vehicle operates entirely autonomously.
Audi describes its imaginary four-door motor as an “autonomous luxury saloon of the future”, and envisions door-to-door individual transportation that’s combined with “the luxurious ambiance of a first-class airline cabin”.
Apparently, unlike a so-called “robot taxi”, the autonomous Audi Aicon will offer a more prestigious way to travel, which probably means it’ll be reserved for bankers, oil barons, and oligarchs the world over.
“The Audi Aicon is a sneak peek at a prestigious automobile of tomorrow that stirs the desires of demanding customers,” explains Audi, waxing poetic about its ritzy robo-car. “Its presence is impossible to ignore, and its exterior hints at the spacious comfort afforded the passengers and the upscale technical aspirations.”
It’s fair to say it’s certainly imposing. Even without the sci-fi looks, it’s positively huge; it boasts a wheelbase of 3,470mm, which is an additional 240mm more than the long version of the new Audi A8. The car offers up a spacious cabin that’s framed by a glass-panel body that should keep the insides feeling bright and cheery – even amidst the assured robot apocalypse.
The car features four electric motors that can produce a total power of 260kW, with each motor driving a single wheel, allowing for electronically-controlled variable all-wheel drive. According to Audi, the range of the Audi Aicon will be somewhere between 434 and 497 miles on a single charge.
Better still, Audi reckons its Aicon concept will be able to charge to 80% battery capacity in under 30 minutes, which would go some way to resolving a key issue with existing electric cars: lengthy recharging times, often requiring overnight plug-ins.
It’s also fully autonomous, driving, turning and braking automatically based on information from a wide array of sensors around the car. Inside, passengers can enjoy movies or internet browsing courtesy of digital displays, and the seats can even be shifted (up to half a metre) around using a touch-sensitive control panel.
Unfortunately, even if the Audi Aicon is on Audi’s manufacturing to-do list, there’s no telling when we’ll see such a car on roads. Although driverless cars are expected on UK roadways as soon as 2020, we reckon this fancy Audi car is still a long way off.
Related: New Audi A8 2017
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