We still don’t know what the future of driving will be, but one thing is certain: automakers are aspiring for vehicles of the future to be both fully self-driving and electric.
To give us a more "realistic" peek as to what this future could be like, Audi recently revealed the AI:ME Concept at Auto Shanghai 2019.
The Audi AI:ME Concept builds on the fundamentals of any urban vehicle of tomorrow: compact, all-electric, and fully autonomous. Measuring in at 4.3 meters long, 1.9 meters wide and 1.52 meters tall, the AI:ME is roughly the same size as any city car you would find on the road today. Despite its compact size, it has a wheelbase of 2.77 meters, meaning there’s a lot of space inside. In fact, Audi says it has a ‘2+X’ passenger layout, which means the cabin can be reconfigured for various uses.
Essentially, Audi imagines the AI:ME as an extension of the office and even living spaces. It has magnetic cup holders and plate holders so you can enjoy a meal on the move. There is also a desk-like space for productivity. Occupants can even stretch out their legs and stare at the actual plants growing from the ‘pergola’ in the roof area.
As a concept vehicle with Level 4 autonomy, the AI:ME will continue to have a steering wheel and pedals. This means those who want to drive the vehicle in the future will still have the means of doing so. Should drivers and passengers not be facing forward, occupants can interact with the AI:ME through voice command, eye-tracking, and even VR.
A 3D OLED display runs the length of the dashboard and gives contextual information and is controlled by the driver’s eye. Occupants can even take a selfie and upload it to social media through the car’s infotainment system.
Externally, the AI:ME can easily be distinguished from other vehicles thanks to its unique styling cues. A set of LED matrices are visible from any point of the body to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians. The digital LED headlights can also be used as micro projectors, allowing it to communicate with pedestrians and other vehicles on the road.
Audi says the AI:ME is expected to drive around between 20 - 70km/h considering it is mainly a city car. That said, it only needs a 65kWh battery pack and a single motor on the rear axle which produces 167 horsepower; more than enough for the AI:ME.
There is no word if or when the Audi AI:ME could enter production as we still have a long way to go with regards to fully-autonomous driving technology. Audi says that the AI:ME is capable of Level 4 autonomous driving, and you can even take a selfie while the car is driving itself. Hopefully, we will get to see this driving around cities in the not-so-distant future.