audi has unveiled an electric off-roader as the fourth member of its visionary concept car family. joining the aicon, PB18, and AI:ME, the four-seater audi AI:TRAIL quattro combines the capacity for automated driving with superb off-road capabilities, making its debut at the IAA 2019 in frankurt, germany.

images courtesy of audi

with the AI:TRAIL, audi is now opening up the potential applications for its vehicles to include off-road terrain. the exterior length is 13.5-feet (4.15 meters) long, 7.05-feet (2.15 meters) wide, and rides on massive 22-inch wheels with 33.5-inch off-road tires. with a ground clearance of an impressive 34 centimeters (13.4 in), it can ford through water more than half a meter (1.6 ft) deep.

the buggy-style vehicle features a fully electric powertrain and incorporates four electric motors for a driveshaft-free all-wheel drive. it features a cabin with room for up to four people, surrounded by glass that extends all the way to ground level. the body of the is made of a mixture of high-tech steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. as a result, it weighs just 1,750 kilograms (3,858.09 lb) despite its high-capacity battery.

the combined system output is 429 horsepower (320 kilowatts) with a maximum torque of 738 pound-feet (1,000 newton-meters). the battery provides a range of between 248 and 310 miles (400 to 500 kilometers) on roads or ‘easy off-road terrain’ measured by the WLTP. for tougher terrain, the car will be able to cover approximately 155 miles (250 km) on a single charge.

inside, the aim of the designers was to give those inside the vehicle the best possible view of nature and their surroundings. the windshield wraps around the front of the vehicle like the cockpit of a helicopter, giving passengers an unobstructed view of the road while almost the entire roof, from the top of the windshield to the rear spoiler, allows a clear view of the sky and the landscape.

a color palette of blue and gray surfaces and earthy tones emphasizes the connection between the interior and the surrounding nature. the carpet is made of reprocessed wool with recycled leather, both of which are sustainable and durable, and feature excellent acoustic and climatic properties. the rear seats are designed like hammocks that when taut and tensioned form a comfortable seating surface and backrest inside the car. this feature can be taken out of and used outside of the car, used as mobile outdoor chairs.

on public roads, it should be capable of level 4 autonomous driving, which is the second-highest level on the standardized international scale for increasing automation. for off-road adventures, the AI:TRAIL offers traditional steering wheel and pedals but still ‘automated driving in the reduced-speed level 3 range can be possible on dirt roads only in exceptional cases and at low speeds.’

‘with the AI:TRAIL, we are showing an off-road concept with an emissions-free electric drive for an innovative driving experience away from paved roads,’ says marc lichte, audi’s head of design.consistent with this, we designed a monolithic basic vehicle body with maximum glazing to create an intense connection to the surroundings. a concept for sustainable mobility on demand.’

audi says that in the future, customers will be able to order any of its specialist models from an audi on demand vehicle pool. each car will have the option to be personalised, suiting personal preferences and requirements, and can also be leased to them for a limited period. audi envisions customers choosing interior and technical options including color, temperature and even music library, all pre-configured online with the app or via the driver details stored in the myaudi system.

audi’s futuristic vision doesn’t stop there. instead of conventional low beams and high beams, the buggy is equipped with a total of five rotorless, triangular, electrically operated drones with integrated matrix led elements. called audi light pathfinders, they can fly ahead capturing video footage of the off-road adventure. they are capable of landing on a roof rack or directly on the roof of the vehicle, and docking onto the inductive charging elements.

the drones can also illuminate the surrounding area from their position on the roof; for example, when the occupants are enjoying a picnic next to the vehicle. they can also illuminate the interior through the transparent panoramic roof if the occupants prefer to remain inside the vehicle. audi also introduces the ‘audi light companion’, a large flashlight-like device attached to the front side of the seat, where it acts as ambient lighting. once again, this feature can also be used outside of the AI:TRAIL. integrated in its housing are three legs that can be used to stand the light in place and turn it into a campfire light or a close-range floodlight.

with all its futuristic features, as you can imagine the audi AI:TRAIL quattro is only a concept right now. audi hasn’t announced plans to put into production.

project info

company: audi

model: AI:TRAIL quattro

kieron marchese I designboom

sep 10, 2019

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