Audi urban concept defies conventional categorization
Until now, Audi's e-tron line of concept vehicles, including the e-tron Frankfurt, e-tron Detroit, and e-tron Spyder, have featured highly desirable, albeit conventional designs reflecting Audi's intention to put the vehicles into production over the next few years. With the latest e-tron branded concept vehicle intended purely as a technical study and not being based on any previous model the Audi designers have been freed up to make a departure from previous designs with the new Audi urban concept.
Audi says the Audi urban concept doesn't fit under any conventional vehicle categories, but combines elements of a racing car, fun car and urban car into one concept. As its name suggests, the urban concept is designed for congested urban environments. With an eye on efficiency the vehicle features a lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) body and is driven by two e-tron electric motors powered by a lithium-ion battery pack to provide what Audi claims is "sporty performance."
The vehicle features free-standing wheels with surrounding protective plates sporting blinking strips of LED lights. Occupants enter via the tailgate with the roof sliding to the rear to open. Inside, the steering wheel and pedals are adjustable to suit the driver's measurements.
The urban concept has room for two people in what Audi says is a 1+1 configuration, but instead of the one seat behind the other layout found in vehicles such as the Volkswagen L1, the urban concept places the seats next to each other but offset so the passenger is positioned slightly behind the driver. This seems a bit odd as it doesn't provide the aerodynamic advantages of inline seating and would make in-car conversations a bit awkward - although it will presumably provide the passenger with some extra leg room.
While Audi has so far only released artist's renderings of the Audi urban concept, the prototype is expected to be unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show next month.
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I want a car that drives itself, runs on water and hovers. Is the plastic recyclable?
Why do concept cars still waste space on steering columns and wheels for that matter? In the next few years car should be autonomous and the space currently wasted on steering will be used for rear facing seating!
I mean if it hovers, I don\'t need tyres and therefore will significantly reduce drag and environmental impact.
Not quite sure where the designers are going, reverse??? lol
Clue: Audi - not a US company, and indeed, the rest of world isn\'t (yet) American either.
We do sometimes still make our own decisions without having to run them past the US first...
I would be appalled to learn that the other first world countries do not have functionally identical requirements.
Hovering is power intensive and makes velocity changes extremely difficult. you think vehicles wonder around when the wind hits them now, you haven\'t seen anything yet. hover ferries are being discontinued because of how low the wind velocity is that makes them interrupt service, compared conventional high speed ferries.
I like driving.
2) Mechanical steering does not, ipso facto, imply steering wheels or pedals. It\'s been shown that a hand lever at the side is just as good or better for steering, and there\'s no reason that cars cant use throttle controls & brakes hand operated.
Automation isn\'t up to all driving needs, but it is not difficult and there are prototypes, of control systems which could easily handle all freeway driving. It\'s not even particularly expensive per vehicle, and can be done without infrastructure changes (though occasional stationary GPS along the route would be of use.)
This has been possible since the 80\'s and would be easier to do today.
By automating the vehicles, and letting them coordinate between themselves you can travel closer together safely (computers react in microseconds and if all of the cars know that something is happening and they need to slow down--within a second--they can all stop safely.)
Such a system can operate alongside manual control vehicles and can be retrofit at moderate cost (depending upon the vehicle.) Freeways are good because they have standardized markings and signage, but with accurate GPS maps any road could be navigated...multiple antennas can bring GPS accuracy down to a cm or less. With an active suspension, each car would know exactly what the road surface is like ahead 99.9999% of the time, thus it could respond fast enough to keep your ride level.
Having such detailed road surface reporting could make freeway maintenance much more efficient.
Current recommended distance between vehicles is 3 seconds, or 264\' at 60mph. Most of that distance is to provide time for the operator to see & understand & decide & then act. Next time you\'re out, see if you can actually keep that distance....
You are 8x as likely to be involved in a fatal accident if you are less than 1 second between the vehicle ahead or behind you.
Cutting that time down could increase the amount of traffic per lane by at least triple, probably much more (since each car will react to the preceding car\'s braking in microseconds.)
The military will have control systems capable of handling most daily situations within a year or two (if they don\'t already.) Emergency situations aren\'t really the stumbling block--people seldom react well to emergencies, and most emergencies are caused by operator errors (in particular, tailgating.)
The biggest hurdle is liability insurance. If you were to come out with cruise control today, you would be unlikely to get permission to install it...indeed, the early models lacked the low-speed cut-off and if set for 60mph would happily try and reach it from a dead stop...disconcerting & dangerous.
Hover vehicles would require massive infrastructure changes, and create problems with flying debris, unlike a ship, a land vehicle can travel in shaped channels--with raised edges to make the vehicle tend to center itself. Cheapest would be to direct air up from the ground, allowing air to pass only when a vehicle is over that particular opening. Removing the powerplant and fan would greatly decrease mass--at the expense of massive infrastructure costs.
For practical purposes, hover vehicles are not currently economically viable yet, though they may be sometime in the future.
The energy cost of hovering exceeds the environmental impact of the tyres.