Audi debuted its most radical concept in the brand’s history at this year’s past Frankfurt Motor Show, the Aicon. It’s the brand’s first Level 5 Autonomous concept car, meaning it’s fully capable of driving completely, one hundred percent on its own without any driver intervention. There aren’t even driver controls inside the Audi Aicon Concept, meaning no pedals, no steering wheel or any driver input devices of any kind. It’s simply an autonomous passenger vehicle.
Now, most journalists and enthusiasts (myself included) felt that it was just a concept design and wasn’t actually a fully-capable Level 5 vehicle. Turns out, the Audi Aicon Concept really is capable of driving on its own, as recently proven by this new video from Audi.
Audi recently took some of its employees in Ingolstadt and gave them the opportunity to drive around…err, ride around in the Aicon. Admittedly, it was on a closed loop and away from traffic, as the Aicon isn’t ready for public road use yet, even if it were legal. However, it does show off its impressive potential and that the idea works.
Inside the Audi Aicon, there are just four seats and a wraparound display screen that spans the entire length of the cabin. Again, no pedals and no steering wheel. So there’s no driver. All four passengers are simply that — passengers. The massive display screen is rather impressive and the cabin, as a whole, looks quite good. It’s minimalist and futuristic without looking cold or lifeless. Audi has managed to make a cabin almost completely devoid of any interaction seem like a friendly environment, which is impressive.
It’s pretty interesting to see the employees ride around in the Aicon, especially the passenger in what would normally be the driver’s seat. You can see them sort of looking for pedals with their feet because it seems awkward to not have anything there. We’d love to give the Audi Aicon a go and test out its fully-autonomous capabilities. Even if I would be ghost braking in the front seat.