Full Autonomy Chosen for Audi’s Aicon Concept
By Zlatan Stankovic on September 15, 2017
For many years, Audi has been a visionary for the auto industry and they happen to invest millions of dollars each year trying to stay at the top of their game. This year, it appears their investment has pointed them in the direction of full automation with the Aicon concept and it could be a big step for the whole industry.
Showing at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, full automation has been chosen for the concept which means there’ll be no pedals or even a steering wheel. Instead, the design will be centered around comfort and luxury in this four-door model. Offering two-by-two seating, this can even be adjusted depending on who’s riding; if two riders want to stretch their legs a little, this will be possible thanks to advanced design from the German manufacturers.
Utilizing a 100% electric design, the model is something that would have seemed a long way away a decade ago but huge advancements have allowed the design to come to fruition after years of planning. Even with this considered, the Aicon is ambitious and it starts with the big battery. On one charge alone, Audi believe you can ride for a total of 500 miles which is a significant improvement on previous ideas and concepts.
However, even through all this, the feature that grabs our attention most is the styling. Despite everything we’ve discussed, the bodywork is styled towards the performance market rather than something that utilizes space and functionality. With flared fenders on 26-inch wheels, the low body suggests a forward sense of motion right through the vehicle.
From this, we can deduce that Audi believes in the performance of this concept. Even with no driver at the wheel, they believe that performance is going to be a key aspect of this corner of the market. At the moment, this hasn't been confirmed from Audi themselves but we do know that the user experience will always be important; regardless of where the experience comes from. With a companion drone and a built-in empathetic electronic vehicle assistant, Audi has clearly considered the end user and perhaps we shouldn't be surprised considering the work they’ve done previously.
More on the assistant, it’ll be known as PIA and the clever technology can actually recognize riders after their phone has been connected. With this in place, features like the seating position, cabin comforts, and even lighting can be adjusted with ease. Furthermore, entertainment and navigation options can be adjusted by using voice commands which makes you ask the question ‘is there anything this car can’t do?’.
With the aforementioned drone, it offers a flashlight and is therefore called the ‘light companion’. Primarily, this is important for showing riders into and out of the vehicle when it’s dark outside. Rather than having long-range headlights, the vehicle relies on the clever autonomous sensor to navigate the roads and prevent accidents. Before you worry about other road users, there are projector modules in place which light up the ground around the Aicon. For all riders inside the vehicle, media can be displayed on the interior screens or windshield for work or pure entertainment.
As of right now, the concept is still some distance from making its way onto the road but it certainly provides more insight than we’ve seen previously. As the most feature-packed example of an autonomous vehicle we’ve seen, we can’t help but get a little excited for the industry and for all fans of automation!