No steering wheel, no pedals—
As we look towards the horizon, we see an autonomous concept designed to combine modern design and performance with connectivity into a luxury sedan package. The Audi Aicon concept design study demonstrates how our engineers’ forward thinking and Audi AI can transform the driving experience of the future. These innovations continue to further push our vision and passion for the mobility of tomorrow. During the concept unveiling at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show, Audi AG Chairman of the Board Management Prof. Rupert Stadler said, “The Aicon shows how autonomous driving can happen in the premium segment.”
All of the lights
Take your first step forward with the futuristic exterior of Aicon (pronounced “icon”). An arrangement of fully digital display surfaces—made up of hundreds of triangular pixel LED segments that are three-dimensional recreations of the Audi AI symbol—replace the standard headlight and lighting units found on a typical passenger vehicle.
In an AI Zone, Aicon can drive itself into a charging station and charge itself without human assistance.
More than 600 of these 3D pixels are positioned around an inverted, hexagon-shaped Singleframe® grille as well as the rear end of the vehicle. These large light pixel fields are designed to display graphics, animations or information visuals in a variety of colors.
The Aicon lighting system gives the driver limitless customization, like programmable Singleframe® eye segments to achieve different looks. It also makes “eye contact” as it’s designed to detect nearby vehicles or pedestrians, adapting to different types of driving scenarios.
The Aicon lighting system also makes “eye contact” as it detects nearby vehicles or pedestrians.
The exploration of space
Open the opposed front and rear doors for access to the spacious interior of Aicon. Upon entry, illuminated LED lines produce colorful accents on the door panels, and a welcome message lights up on the front display to greet you. The front lounge-style chairs are futuristic in design, side bolstered for support and adjustable for ergonomic comfort, while the two rear seats take the form of an upholstered bench. “The user experience and cabin design are special to us,” Stadler said. “The interior features high-grade materials with an excellent fit and finish.”
You’ll no longer need to concern yourself with vehicle controls or displays. In fact, standard everyday features—like a steering wheel, pedals or buttons—are gone, replaced with wide, continuous surfaces. An empathetic electronic vehicle assistant named PIA will be able to recognize the owner by their phone and can activate all of their personal settings, such as a voice-activated navigation system, climate control settings, seating positions, interior light color and infotainment system layout.
Depending on your seating position, your hands will instinctively find their way around the ergonomic touch and display control panels located along the digitized wrap-around layout. But the options don’t end with your hands. Through voice control and eye tracking sensors, Aicon can track where you’re looking.
Once you’re able to relax, you’ll be able to control how exactly to spend your time while commuting: The Aicon is designed to allow you to surf the web and do some window shopping, turn on video conferencing for a work meeting, or simply rest. Glass roof panels can help block sunlight with an electrically charged system that changes the transparency of the roof, while integrated OLED lighting can help create a specific mood or illuminate the interior as you enter or exit the vehicle. With a total capacity of 23.3 cubic feet available, there’s plenty of room to store baggage in compartments located in the front and rear.
Four to the floor
In many genres of music, the term “four-to-the-floor” describes a constant rhythmic beat in 4/4 time, where the bass drum hits on every beat in common time (1, 2, 3, 4). Just as this beat is an important component of a musical structure, so are the four electric motors that drive Aicon.
With a motor putting power down to each wheel, the four units collectively produce 260kW and 550 newton meters (405.7 lb-ft of torque), and they enable the electronically controlled, variable quattro® all-wheel drive. Aicon also comes fitted with an adaptive air suspension to maintain balance and comfort while commuting.
Charging the 0.8 kw/h battery to 80 percent capacity is designed to be done in less than 30 minutes, but the system also can be charged wirelessly. In an AI Zone, Aicon can pull up to a charging station and charge itself without human assistance. Through recuperation, a lightweight chassis and effective aerodynamics, the car will be able to drive approximately 435 to 497 miles on one charge.
As the first of its kind in the Audi family, Aicon showcases a vision of more than freedom during a long commute. “It’s more than a means of transport,” Stadler said. “It knows its driver and is constantly learning, and can be a personal retreat which will hopefully make your life easier.” With progressive style, connectivity and—above all—comfort, these are just the beginning chapters in forming our narrative for the future of autonomous vehicles.