Audi Debuts Autonomous EV Concept at 2019 Shanghai Show
It's compact enough to make difficult parking spaces easy and filled with enough VR tech to forget about the outside world.
Pint sized pugilist
Audi designer James Nissen remarks that the brand's newest show car, the AI:ME should be known as a "third living area." The new concept car utilizes Level 4 autonomy, an inviting high-tech cabin, and VR technology to boot as to erase the mundane duties out of driving. So, is the AI:ME more of an urban streetfighter or an oasis from the banality of the outside world?
I am the captain now
Why only Level 4 autonomy? Well, Level 4 functions are only good for autonomous driving under certain conditions or in specific areas. That level of autonomy is exactly why the gas and brake pedals will retract into the floor when they are not needed. Imagine something akin to landing gear retracting away, since the driver will have no need for those bits when the robot chauffer takes over.
It's the answer to your terrible no good too long commute
Nissen goes on to say “We designed the AI:ME entirely from a user experience standpoint. We put ourselves in the position of the person who wants to drive from point A to point B in the city with the AI:ME — and to escape from the noise and hectic of the big city during the drive. That’s why our design process was primarily focused on the interior of the AI:ME.”
The AI:ME measures about 169 inches in length, 109 of that is wheelbase. The height is just 60 inches tall. For those that know their Audi models, those dimensions make the AI:ME just a tiny bit shorter than an A3 and a wheelbase just as long as an A4. With the fact that the AI:ME has more headroom than a Q3, you start to understand the "living room" remark.
Perfect for a crowded metropolis
Powering the concept car is a 125 kW electric motor which comes out to about 168 horsepower. The motor is placed on the rear axle. The absence of a transmission tunnel lends itself to a nice flat floor that aids in the whole living room motif.
Welcome to the comfy zone
So imagine that you go to get into your car to start your daily mind-warpingly boring commute with the AI:ME. You drive to the freeway entrance and then engage the autonomous mode to let the car safely inch through traffic and navigate things for you. At that point of AI engagement is when the cabin becomes a "high-tech refuge." There is an ottoman-like footstool for the driver to rest their feet on under the dashboard and lounge seats to relax into. The center console has magnets in the wood trim that work as cupholders for metal bottles or even a plate.
If you're the type to experience your eyes glazing over from staring at brake lights in traffic, then shut off the outside world and power up the VR goggles that are integrated into the infotainment system. From here, the driver can browse the internet, watch a movie or play video games.
The AI:ME is an exercise to show the public where Audi is headed in their thinking for the future instead of a car that will be headed towards production. Our question for Audiworld readers is if something like this came packaged in an upcoming Audi, would you opt for it?
>>Join the conversation about the AI:ME concept right here in the Audi World Forum!
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