Audi is embracing a self-driving future.
The German automaker has been actively testing self-driving cars all around the world and at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, it is presenting the Audi Aicon. It’s a four-door, 2+2 concept that features no steering wheels or pedals, emphasizing that it previews an autonomous Audi of the future. According to the automaker, the Aicon should be able to cover between 435 to 497 miles (700 to 800 kilometers) on a single charge.
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It’s arguably the best-looking “robot taxi” we’ve seen, with a sports-car like appearance that even teases what a four-door Audi R8 would look like. It measures 17.9-feet long, 6.9-feet wide, and 4.9-feet tall. Underpinning the concept is a 11.4-foot wheelbase, which is 9.4 inches longer than the Audi A8.
As a self-driving car, the Audi Aicon features opposed doors that open to the front and rear, removing the need of a B-pillar. The exposed interior is spacious, while removing the steering wheel and pedals give a sense of openness and expanse.
The two front seats are designed for maximum comfort and optimal spaciousness, said Audi. Passengers can slide them up to 19.7 inches (500 millimeters) back and forth, between the forward and rear positions. Each individual seat can swivel by up to 15 degrees, which means the seats can be turned outward to make it easier to get in and out of the vehicle, or inward so passengers can talk and interact more easily.
Powering the Audi Aicon are four electric motors that combine to produce a total of about 349 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. As you might have guessed, there’s one electric motor powering each wheel, allowing for electronically-controlled, variable quattro all-wheel drive. Audi emphasized that acceleration isn’t the focus with the powertrain, but rather maximum efficiency for increased range.
Along with previewing its self-driving technology and how Audi envisions its electric vehicles for the future, it’s also showing off new charging technology on the Aicon. There’s a high-voltage system with 800 volts, allowing the Aicon’s battery unit to be charged to 80 percent of its capacity in less than 30 minutes. In an AI Zone, it will be able to pull up to a charging station on its own, charging its battery without human assistance.
“The Audi Aicon is an all-arounder well prepared for its primary task: to offer a maximum of comfort, communications technology and freedom for its occupants during a long journey,” said Audi in a press release. “It combines the scopes for autonomous driving in an urban environment and on the highway with an unprecedented range for an electric drive. The Aicon will be followed by further multitalented Audi models, each with their own specialized discipline, ensuring that the vehicle range of the brand with the four rings remains as diverse as it is fascinating.”
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