Audi claims its new A8 flagship sedan is the first car with Level 3 self-driving capability, which allows it to drive itself in traffic at speeds of up to 37 mph in traffic on divided roads.
Its limitations mean that it still looks pretty conventional and has a steering wheel and pedals, but the automaker has revealed a luxury car concept for the coming age of full autonomy at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The Aicon is also a full-size four-door, albeit one with opposing doors that create a wide opening into its configurable interior. A small rear bench seat backs up to captain’s chairs that can be moved around the cabin, which doesn’t have any controls for a driver because the Level 5 autonomous concept won’t ever need them.
There are plenty of entertainment too keep passengers occupied, including several displays and a windshield that turns into a giant head-up display. Exterior screens can communicate with surrounding vehicles and pedestrians, along with messages projected directly onto the road.
Being an Audi, the battery-powered Aicon is of course all-wheel-drive, with an electric motor at each wheel. There’s also four-wheel steering for maneuverability and a fully active suspension that can prevent the car from even leaning a little bit in curves.
Range is estimated at around 500 miles per charge, which can be handled wirelessly by the car visiting a station all by itself, something Audi thinks will be possible in so-called AI Zones – designated areas where even Level 4 cars will be able to operate without a driver within a few short years.