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#FrankfurtMotorShow: No accelerator, no brakes... The Audi Aicon drives itself

2017-09-12 08:48

Frankfurt, Germany - 'Design study, technology demonstrator, mobility concept' - this is how Audi defines its Aicon concept car.

The Aicon, says Audi, is a glimpse into the direction the company is headed. What's special about the Aicon? Well, the cabin has no steering wheel nor pedals.

Operation and communication

Inside, all of the controls and displays are missing. Steering wheel, pedals, groups of buttons and instruments - none of these are present. Instead it has wide, uninterrupted surfaces.

Passengers are enveloped by a curved armrest along the doors, which rises slightly from back to front, says Audi. Instead of a dashboard, there is a shelf and the central display below the windshield.

Audi showed off its new AICON at #VWGroupIAA.

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New are the variably positionable control interfaces in the encircling door rail. Depending on the position of the seats, which can be shifted by up to 50cm, ergonomically positioned touch and display elements are available in the digitized wrap-around.

READ: Audi's rear-wheel drive supercar: R8 V10 RWS

Passengers can set the most important settings by tapping with their fingers without having to sit up in their seats or leaning forward. 

Audi also says that there are multiple input modes available for engaging with the car. Besides the haptic-manual layer, there are also voice control and eye tracking, in which sensors in the front-end of the interior track where the passenger is looking. 

Working, communicating or simply just relaxing and even napping: Audi believes that “anything is possible while the car autonomously and safely finds its way“.

Image: NewsPress

Drivetrain and suspension

An electric drive system powers the Audi Aicon. A total of four electric motors are located in the area of the front and rear axles. The energy storage units are integrated into the area below the floor. These are solid body batteries with considerably more energy capacity than lithium-ion batteries. 

The four electric motors produce a total of 260kW and 550Nm. Each drives one wheel, enabling electronically controlled, variable quattro all-wheel drive, says Audi. Targeted lightweight construction of the multimaterial body and optimised aerodynamics also help the Audi Aicon to achieve ranges of between 700km and 800km on a single charge. 

READ: What's in a name? Audi launches new model designations

Thanks to a high-voltage system with 800 volts, the Aicon’s battery unit can be charged to 80% of capacity in less than 30 minutes. The car is also equipped with a wireless charging unit. The Aicon manages both without a driver. In an Artificial Intelligence (AI) zone, it can pull up to a charging station on its own and charge its battery without any human assistance, says Audi. 

The Aicon brakes primarily by way of recuperation and in so doing recharges the batteries. The development engineers have relocated the disc brakes from the wheels to a position close to the drivetrain. Audi says that this will improve the aerodynamics at the wheels as there is no longer any need for air cooling at the wheels, which is always associated with turbulence. 

The axle and drive units in the Audi Aicon are symmetrical, i.e. identical at the front and rear. Mechanical components, such as the steering shaft or steering hydraulics, have been eliminated. The car is therefore equipped with a complete all-wheel steering system without compromising the available space and thus the passenger compartment.

Image: NewsPress


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