A totally driverless car – no pedals and no steering wheel. That’s the concept car Audi decided to unveil at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show to make a bold statement of what the company thinks is the future of automobiles.
The company envisions a time when self-driving cars will be the mainstream. When that time comes, two front passenger seats without a steering wheel, pedals and a gearbox will become the new normal.
The sleek four-door Audi Aicon comes with a 2 by 2 seating arrangement that can be easily adjusted for comfort. For instance, if the two front passengers want to stretch out.
The Audi Aicon is also fully electric and can make almost 500 miles on a single charge, not far behind the 100 kWh Tesla Model S.
Inside the futuristic car, there’s quite some significant human and AI interaction. An artificial personal assistant called PIA can recognize and talk to the vehicle user. PIA, which also receives voice commands, can set custom settings like seating posture, lighting, entertainment etc.
Unfortunately, for all its class, the Audi Aicon is too futuristic and represents an era where driverless cars are very much the norm. The car for instance, has no real headlights for night time driving. Being driverless, it relies on its own sensory abilities to drive in the dark and doesn’t need headlights.
On the road, such a car probably wouldn’t get along very easily with today’s conventional vehicles. It could prove hard to spot from a distance even though the car has a projector that can render some displays on the ground near it to make it more visible in the dark.
The Audi Aicon definitely represents the automobile of the distant future.