Automotive

Long, luxurious Aicon previews the self-driving Audi of the future

Long, luxurious Aicon previews...
Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
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A sketch of the Audi Aicon 
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A sketch of the Audi Aicon 
A sketch of the Audi Aicon 
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A sketch of the Audi Aicon 
A sketch of the Audi Aicon 
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A sketch of the Audi Aicon 
A sketch of the Audi Aicon 
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A sketch of the Audi Aicon 
A sketch of the Audi Aicon 
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A sketch of the Audi Aicon 
A look at the long, low Audi Aicon 
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A look at the long, low Audi Aicon 
Under the skin of the Audi Aicon
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Under the skin of the Audi Aicon
Audi is claiming a range of up to 800 km from the Aicon
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Audi is claiming a range of up to 800 km from the Aicon
The roof of the Audi Aicon can be blacked out 
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The roof of the Audi Aicon can be blacked out 
The 2+2 seating setup in the Audi Aicon seems a bit silly, given the space on offer 
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The 2+2 seating setup in the Audi Aicon seems a bit silly, given the space on offer 
The Aicon has suicide doors for easier access 
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The Aicon has suicide doors for easier access 
A peek into the interior of the Audi Aicon 
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A peek into the interior of the Audi Aicon 
The sliding seats in the Audi Aicon 
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The sliding seats in the Audi Aicon 
Sensors on surrounding the Audi Aicon 
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Sensors on surrounding the Audi Aicon 
The lighting on the Aicon can be fully customised based on the situation
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The lighting on the Aicon can be fully customised based on the situation
The lighting on the Aicon can be fully customised based on the situation
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The lighting on the Aicon can be fully customised based on the situation
The lighting on the Aicon can be fully customised based on the situation
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The lighting on the Aicon can be fully customised based on the situation
The lighting on the Aicon can be fully customised based on the situation
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The lighting on the Aicon can be fully customised based on the situation
The triangle motif on the Aicon's wheels is repeated throughout the car's design 
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The triangle motif on the Aicon's wheels is repeated throughout the car's design 
The sharp character line running down the side of the Audi Aicon 
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The sharp character line running down the side of the Audi Aicon 
The Audi badge is still central to the rear of the Aicon
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The Audi badge is still central to the rear of the Aicon
The seats in the Audi Aicon can slide back and forth by up to 500 mm
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The seats in the Audi Aicon can slide back and forth by up to 500 mm
Most of the smooth, unadorned surfaces in the Aicon can be used as a screen 
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Most of the smooth, unadorned surfaces in the Aicon can be used as a screen 
The seats in the Audi Aicon are like giant armchairs 
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The seats in the Audi Aicon are like giant armchairs 
The Audi Aicon was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show 
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The Audi Aicon was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show 
A look at the different lighting signatures on the Audi Aicon concept
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A look at the different lighting signatures on the Audi Aicon concept
The Aicon rides on 26-inch wheels 
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The Aicon rides on 26-inch wheels 
The rear of the Audi Aicon is lit with triangular pixels
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The rear of the Audi Aicon is lit with triangular pixels
The Aicon is more than five meters long 
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The Aicon is more than five meters long 
The 26-inch wheels on the Aicon give it some serious presence 
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The 26-inch wheels on the Aicon give it some serious presence 
The singleframe grille-shaped panel on the nose of the Aicon is a nod to current Audis
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The singleframe grille-shaped panel on the nose of the Aicon is a nod to current Audis
A look at the Audi Aicon 
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A look at the Audi Aicon 
The flanks of the Audi Aicon are heavily creased 
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The flanks of the Audi Aicon are heavily creased 
The doors on the Audi Aicon are suicide doors 
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The doors on the Audi Aicon are suicide doors 
A top-down look at the Audi Aicon 
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A top-down look at the Audi Aicon 
A top-down look at the Audi Aicon 
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A top-down look at the Audi Aicon 
Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
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Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
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Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
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Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
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Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
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Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
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Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
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Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
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Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
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Audi debuts the Aicon concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

Audi has put artificial intelligence in the spotlight with its new flagship production car, the the A8, but its new concept car takes things a step further. Launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Aicon provides a peek at how Audi envisages the self-driving luxury sedan of the future.

On the surface, the autonomous Audi of the future is seriously big. At 17.9 ft (5.44 m) long and 6.9 ft (2.1 m) wide, it's actually 9.4 in (24 cm) longer than a long-wheelbase A8. Riding on a set of 26-inch wheels, it certainly doesn't lack presence. As is often the case with self-driving concepts, the windows and windscreen are massive to bathe the cabin with light.

The Aicon rides on 26-inch wheels 
The Aicon rides on 26-inch wheels 

The wheelarches are aggressively flared around those monstrous wheels, and the line running along the side of the car is meant to make it look long and taut. At the front, headlights have been subbed out for a large field of triangular pixels capable of making almost any shape. The car has been photographed with the lights in a fairly conventional pattern, but Audi says the technology could be used to communicate with pedestrians.

The exterior is cool, but the focus of any self-driving concept is the interior. It's accessed through a set of suicide doors, which work with the B-pillar-free design to make ingress and egress easier. Rather than conventional seating, the driver and passenger seats have been replaced with two armchairs on platforms. When they're slid all the way back in the cabin, the car is essentially a two-seater, while sliding them forward makes room for two more passengers.

Both the cushion and backrest can be tilted to essentially any position, and the seats all swivel to make conversation easier. Alternatively, you can passive-aggressively turn away from your partner without craning your neck while riding in self-driving comfort.

The seats in the Audi Aicon are like giant armchairs 
The seats in the Audi Aicon are like giant armchairs 

All the uninterrupted, clean surfaces in the interior turn into display surfaces. LED lighting sets the mood, and an intelligent assistant (dubbed PIA) recognizes the driver when their phone connects. Everything from the seats to the air conditioning changes automatically, something Tesla has tried to do with its driver profiles. The whole interior is controlled with haptic and touch-sensitive controls, although Audi suggests the PIA assistant could also handle most functions.

Passengers are able to browse the internet or watch a movie when they want to relax, or use the car as a mobile office. With the roof blacked out and mood lighting set to a calming color, you could even settle in for a nap.

Under the skin, the Aicon is home to an electric all-wheel drive powertrain with 260 kW (349 hp) of power and 550 Nm (406 lb-ft) of torque. Audi hasn't bothered trying to make it accelerate like crazy, instead focusing on eking as many miles from the battery as possible. It appears to have worked, too – the car has a claimed range of between 700 and 800 km (435 and 497 mi). Thank the light, aerodynamic body for that.

A top-down look at the Audi Aicon 
A top-down look at the Audi Aicon 

A high-voltage fast-charging system can fill the car to 80 percent charge in less than half an hour, and wireless charging capability is built in. Given it has a smart AI brain at the core, the car can drive to a charge station without any passengers on board, which means your self-driving chariot should never go flat with a full load of people on board.

The Aicon is on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show, where New Atlas is on the ground covering all the action.

Source: Audi

2 comments
MD
I can't wait for a car that has its own recreation schedule. "Sorry I won't be able to make that pickup I'm in the middle of a game gotta get one more pikachu (sub in 2021's autonomous car VR game token)." Having it drive to a charge point while I'm in a meeting sounds good though. "Maybe" the every-/wo/man's car will be a little lower-end (you know, you have to pay for increased functionality, even if the hardware is already installed, it helps keep the rich arrogant).
Fast Eddie
A great look. Sadly, it is truly a concept: the shortcut to determining if there is any possibility of production is that if there are suicide doors (to make the interior show well) and no B-pillar, then there is NO intent. The skateboard platform looks familiar, however, and offers promise.