Audi has unveiled AI:ME, a new electric mobility concept vehicle with level 4 autonomous driving abilities and retractable controls.
Audi announced the concept at the Shanghai Auto Show as “a visionary mobility concept for the megacities of the future.” The company’s vision includes a steering wheel, instruments, and pedals that retract during autonomous driving, to be “almost fully concealed by a stowage compartment with a surface made of open-pore walnut wood.”
The AI:ME concept uses a 65 kWh battery and a 125 kW motor, and it’s designed to be “predominantly” driven in the 20-70 km/h (12.4-43.5 mph) range. It’s 4.30 meters (14.1 ft) long and 1.9 meters wide (6.2 ft), with a a height of 1.52 meters (5 ft).
Audi says the concept is a “2 plus-x-seater,” with a variety of configurations that would mostly be used to transport two passengers sitting up front, but there’s space for up to four people with the use of a rear bench.
In addition to the focus on level 4 autonomous driving, Audi emphasizes AI:ME’s integrated LEDs as a safety feature, visible from all angles. LED units and micro matrix projectors can project “easily identifiable symbols” to pedestrians, and the AI:ME can also “interpret signals from other vehicles and use its own lighting technology to amplify them if this benefits the surroundings.”
Like many of these concepts, Audi is playing up the benefits of both individualization and car sharing — the company notes these “automobiles are to be available and ready for use upon request and should ideally be custom tailored, but they need not pass into permanent personal ownership. ”
A smartphone app is also a part of the AI:ME system, and Audi’s release even alludes to a “connection between the user’s home network and the Audi AI:ME” that “allows users to continue watching a movie using the VR goggles in the car, picking up where they left off at home. On their way home from work, they can close their eyes, enjoy the silence on board, and relax.”
More pics of the concept are included below.
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