Audi Unveils Autonomous, Connected Concept Car

Volkswagen AG’s Audi unit says its AI:ME concept electric city car previews technologies and design features for next-generation autonomous and connected vehicles.

Media reports suggest the new concept also could provide the basis of an A3-sized compact EV. Audi took the wraps off the AI:ME this week at the Shanghai auto show.

The electric car features Level 4 autonomous driving capability and various vehicle-to-vehicle/infrastructure communication systems.

Measuring 169 inches long, 75 inches wide and 59 inches tall, the concept car is about the same size as VW’s upcoming ID electric hatchback. Interior space is maximized by pushing the wheels to the corners.

The low-slung hatchback features a large panoramic glass roof. LED lights can help signal driving intentions to pedestrians and other vehicles through light sequences and colors.

Audi says the car has a reconfigurable interior with flexible seating that can accommodate as many as four adults. The layout includes lounge-style front seats that can pivot to face each other or the rear, two foldable tables, a food storage unit and sliding magnetic cupholders that attach to the dash.

There also is a large storage bin in the dashboard and additional storage areas built into the doors. The steering wheel and foot pedals retract during autonomous driving to create more room.

The car’s large OLED infotainment display stretches the length of the dashboard. Riders can access it via voice commands, gesture, eye-tracking cameras and touchscreen controls. Occupants also can use augmented reality glasses to play games and watch movies on the screen.

Interior materials such as walnut trim are designed to be soft and tactile. The top section of the door windows are stationary so that incoming air is directed at an occupant’s body rather than their face. The upper section also is wider to provide more headroom, Audi says.