Audi AI:ME Concept Showcases Intelligent, Customized Mobility
Back in 2011, Audi was the first car company to unveil new technologies at the Consumer Electronics Show (now simply called CES) in Las Vegas.
Since then, the German brand has always had a strong presence at the event, which has become a must-stop for automakers and parts suppliers alike.
The 2020 edition features a technological evolution of the level-4 autonomous driving concept originally introduced in Shanghai in April 2019.
Called AI:ME, it’s part of a family of four electric concepts that includes the AI:CON driverless luxury car from 2017, the AI:RACE sports car (formerly known as PB18 because it made its debut in Pebble Beach in 2018) and the AI:TRAIL quattro all-terrain concept shown in Frankfurt last fall.
Fancy New Tech
Going beyond the typical self-driving EV for tomorrow’s urban life, the Audi AI:ME adds new technologies and gadgets creating a personal “third living space” alongside our homes and workplaces.
It is familiar with the desires and needs of its users, who can use eye tracking to communicate with the vehicle intuitively. Let’s say you want to order food. Well, the AI-powered system will know which restaurants and meals you prefer, make suggestions and arrange for delivery straight to your house or workplace.
Occupants can also enjoy a wellness experience in the AI:ME. A pair of VR goggles in the car allows them to take a flight across a spectacular mountain landscape while listening to relaxing music. The technology adapts virtual content to the movements of the AI:ME in real time and it works for both the driver and passengers, as we found out in a short demo that took place in the parking lot atop a Las Vegas building.
Spacious Little Car
The Audi AI:ME concept is about the size of a compact car at 4.3 metres long and 1.90 metres wide. It also stands 1.52 metres tall and rides on a 2.7-metre wheelbase, resulting in a very spacious cabin. There’s no transmission tunnel, either.
The 125-kilowatt (170-horsepower) electric motor is mounted in the rear and drives the rear wheels only by drawing energy from a 65-kWh battery.
Level-4 autonomy means the AI:ME has a steering wheel and pedals allowing the driver to take over when required. However, in fully autonomous mode, the pedals disappear into the floor and the U-shaped steering wheel pivots forward and into the dashboard.
The doors open in opposite directions for easy access to the interior and the velvet-trimmed, shell-like seats are ergonomically designed for maximum comfort. The windows are huge, while the dashboard is made of the mineral composite material Corian that’s often used for kitchen counters.
The interior design can be described as organic—literally—with the industry’s first use of vegetation. Overall, the look is clean and perfectly tailored to the concept of a shared city car.
At the 2020 CES, Audi is also showcasing its Q4 e-tron concept, which we first saw last year in Geneva, and the e-tron Sportback unveiled a couple of months ago in L.A. Just like the AI:ME, these two vehicles are fully electric.