Audi has revealed an autonomous luxury saloon concept called the Aicon at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show.
It has all-wheel-drive courtesy of four electric motors and a total range of at least 434 miles.
Audi says the demonstrator combines innovations relating to the drivetrain, suspension, digitalization and sustainability in a visionary manner.
The cabin has no steering wheel or pedals and offers a sneak peak at what future prestige models could offer.
Its dimensions place it in the automotive top tier, the D segment. The wheelbase is 240mm longer more than a current Audi A8L.
Conventional headlights and lighting units are absent from both the front and rear of this car. Instead there are fully digital display surfaces comprising hundreds of triangular pixel segments.
The Audi Aicon supports its surroundings intelligently and uses animations on its display surfaces to warn pedestrians or cyclists of dangerous situations.
Horizontal stripes of light move from the bottom up when the car accelerates and in the opposite direction during braking. Their speed increases or decreases in sync with that of the car.
One thing that an autonomously driving vehicle of the future won’t need is long-range headlights. When passengers exit the Audi Aicon in the dark, a “light companion” is activated: A mini-drone with a flashlight safely illuminates the user’s walking path.
There are multiple input modes available for engaging with the car. Besides the haptic-manual layer, there are also voice control and eye tracking, in which sensors in the front end of the interior track where the passenger is looking. The passenger locks his onto a control element in the area of the front main display to select it and performs fine adjustments using his hand or voice.
It is likely the Aicon is a few decades off yet, but the technology gives a glimpse of what is possible in an autonomous world.