AUDI’s all-electric ‘aicon’ concept car promises a luxurious autonomous experience


at the 2017 edition of IAA, better known as the frankfurt motor show, AUDI has unveiled its ‘aicon’ concept car — an all-electric luxury vehicle that can travel up to 800 kilometers (500 miles) on a single charge. according to its designers, the autonomous sedan, which features four doors, but no steering wheel or pedals, combines innovations relating to the drivetrain, suspension, digitalization, and sustainability. rather than a robotic taxi, designed for purely functional purposes, the car seeks to combine the advantages of door-to-door transportation with the ambiance of a first-class airline cabin.

all images and videos courtesy of AUDI

externally, the AUDI aicon’s sheer size hints at its spacious interior within. measuring 5.4 meters (17.9 ft) in length, the designers reduced the front and rear ends to a minimum of lines and focused on large, uninterrupted surfaces. in order to further emphasize the car’s length, a distinct edge runs as a hard line along the car’s side window surfaces. meanwhile, the darkened side sills rise gradually toward the rear, making it seem as though the car is ducking. giant 26-inch wheels housed inside flared wells further assert the car’s presence, while the front features the inverted hexagonal singleframe, a typical feature of AUDI’s upcoming generation of electric cars.

the ‘aicon’ concept car is an all-electric luxury vehicle

opposed doors, that open to the front and rear, expose the entire breadth of the interior to the passengers as they get in the car. the lack of a steering wheel, foot pedals, and a conventional dashboard further reinforce a sense of spaciousness, while large glass surfaces — including the transparent roof — provide sweeping external views. to the rear, an upholstered, two-seat bench can be retracted allowing room for the two front seats to slide back and forth between the forward and rear positions. the individual seats, conceived as lounge chairs, can also be swiveled by up to 15 degrees. additionally, there is a storage compartment at both the front and the rear of the vehicle with a combined capacity of roughly 660 liters (23.3 cu ft).

the car can travel up to 800 kilometers (500 miles) on a single charge

rather than conventional headlights and lighting units, the vehicle boasts fully digital display surfaces that comprise hundreds of triangular pixel segments. the aicon even uses animations on its display surfaces to warn pedestrians or cyclists of dangerous situations. for example, horizontal stripes of light move from the bottom up when the car accelerates and in the opposite direction during braking. their speed increases or decreases in sync with that of the car. when passengers exit the car in the dark, a mini-drone with a flashlight is deployed to illuminate the user’s path.

the autonomous sedan features four doors, but no no steering wheel or pedals

while on the road, travelers are able to watch a movie, surf the internet, or partake in video conferences. depending on the seating position, the passengers can even use the large front display as the output surface or a virtual head-up image displayed above it in the windshield.

the battery unit can be charged to 80% of capacity in less than 30 minutes

the AUDI aicon employs four electric motors (one for each wheel) that produce a total of 260 kW and 550 newtonmeters (405.7 lb-ft). thanks to a high-voltage system, the battery unit can be charged to 80% of capacity in less than 30 minutes. long distances can be covered at a constant speed of around 130 kmh (80.8 mph) with passengers able to experience the journey at comfortable cruising speed without constant braking and accelerating.

the car seeks to integrate the ambiance of a first-class airline cabin

the two front seats can slide back and forth between the forward and rear positions

the individual seats have been conceived as lounge chairs

the concept car is presented at the 2017 edition of the frankfurt motor show