Audi's AI:Trail Quattro Concept Is the Autonomous, EV That Looks out of This World
【Summary】The automaker’s latest concept looks like it’s out of a science-fiction movie, which has us wondering what exactly will make it to commercial vehicles from this concept.
Auto shows, like the Frankfurt Motor Show, that's currently underway is a great time for automakers to showcase radical concepts. Usually, the concepts have a few items that could plausibly make their way to commercial vehicles in the near future. With the Audi AI:Trail Quattro Concept, it looks like Audi lets its engineers and designers loose to have some fun. By the looks of things, Audi's employees aren't the only ones that will be having fun in the future, as the AI:Trailer Concept is an autonomous off-roader that looks like it wouldn't be out of place on the Moon.
High-Tech Off-Roaders Are Coming
The AI:Trail is a part of four other concepts that the automaker unveiled at the auto show. In the word's of Marc Lichte, Audi's design boss, each concept has its own specific use case, which is clear to see with the AI:Trail. With things like 13.4 inches of ground clearance, 33.5-inch tires, and 22-inch wheels, this thing is meant for some serious off-roading.
To go with the looks, each wheel gets its own electric motor – a concept that highlights a new take on Audi's infamous Quattro all-wheel-drive system. It's possible that this could be used in a fully-electric vehicle down the road. Total output for the concept is rated at 430 horsepower and a massive 738 pound-feet of torque. Despite the large wheels and tall ride height, Audi claims that the concept can travel 250 miles on a charge in its simulations. If you're off-roading, that figure drops down to 155 miles.
More peculiarities are found throughout the body. The roof has drones that work in two ways – either lighting up the road like fancy roof-mounted lights or another pair of eyes that can spot upcoming patches of rough road. Beyond a yoke-style steering wheel and a mount that's just large enough for a smartphone, the concept is missing a gauge cluster, a traditional screen, and any other things you would find in a regular car. Your smartphone is supposed to act as all of these things.
Level 4 On Trails, Level 3 On Tarmac
The concept also features autonomous technology. Level 4 autonomy is capable when the AI:Trail Concept is on-road, while Level 3 autonomous capabilities is available when the road gets rough. So even Audi knows that consumers see off-roading as an enjoyable thing in the future. If autonomous cars are all on the road, maybe off-roading will be the last place for consumers to actually do some driving.
"With the AI:Trail, we are showing an off-road concept with an emissions-free electric drive for an innovative driving experience away from paved roads," said Lichte. "Consistent with this, we designed a monolithic basic vehicle body with maximum glazing to create an intense connection to the surroundings, a concept for sustainable mobility on demand."
We highly doubt Audi will put something like this on the market in the next few years. Instead, it's more likely that some design elements and powertrain aspects could make their way to Volkswagen's upcoming electric dune buggy that's coming out down the road. Or maybe Audi could add some of the features to the next generation of the e-tron .
Vineeth Joel Patel
Joel Patel has been covering all aspects of the automotive industry for four years as an editor and freelance writer for various websites. When it comes to cars, he enjoys covering the merger between technology and cars. In his spare time, Joel likes to watch baseball, work on his car, and try new foods
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