While a host of auto manufacturers are shining the spotlight on their new electric technologies this week at the 2017 International Motor Show Germany in Frankfurt, others like Audi are setting their sights even further into the future and introducing the new self-driving and intelligent cars that may travel the roads of tomorrow. Decidedly, the keyword at Audi in the coming years will be AI.
Unveiled this past summer, the new 2018 Audi A8 is on display at Frankfurt as the world’s first production vehicle to be authorized for conditional autonomous driving on public roads, even in high-traffic situations. In certain situations, the driver can turn over control to the car with the push of a button. Constant attention will no longer be required; instead the driver merely needs to be ready to retake the controls within 10 seconds after being alerted by the car’s self-driving system. Don't miss our photo gallery of the A8!
The next step in the evolution of AI at the German automaker is incarnated by the Audi Elaine concept, an electric coupe-style SUV that, in a few years, will bring to fruition highly-advanced self-driving functionality, even with no one on board. After the car has been parked in a designated area, for example, it can drive itself to another station, either to recharge, make a delivery or provide another service. It can operate autonomously at speeds of up to 130 km/h. Massive touchscreens allow for extensive interaction with the vehicle, which may in ‘intelligent’ fashion also be able to anticipate occupants’ needs.
As for its performance, the Audi Elaine can generate up to 429 hp (or up to 496 in short bursts) and accelerate from 0-100 km/h in only 4.5 seconds. Its 95 kWh battery, meanwhile, gives it a range surpassing 500 km.
The 4-door Audi Aicon concept does not even have a steering wheel, nor pedals or gauges; instead it is designed to recreate the sensation of sitting in a luxurious and comfortable first-class airplane seat. Even longer and more spacious than the extended-wheelbase A8 L sedan, the Aicon is a peek a decade or two into the future of design and technologies at Audi, as evidenced for example by its highly modifiable and customizable interiors and exteriors.
Stretching the existing limits of autonomous driving to unprecedented new levels, the Aicon could be able to drive more than 800 km on a single full charge, and generate up to 348 hp.