While we’re in attendance at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show, we had the chance to see the all-new Audi AI:ME Concept in person. Audi’s radical new idea for the future of megacity driving is very interesting. It might not be the most exciting car for enthusiasts but the ideas behind it will be very important in the future, especially in dense urban cities like Shanghai.
In person, the Audi AI:ME Concept is odd. It looks more like a robotic pod than an actual car and that’s because it sort of is. It’s designed to be a Level 4 autonomous vehicle used to shuttle people around either dense urban cities or long stretches of highway. Basically, it’s supposed to make the daily grind of getting to and from work much easier and more relaxing.
So it’s been designed to maximize interior space while minimizing its exterior on-road footprint. Which is why it’s so small but its wheelbase is as absolutely long as possible, so as to allow for more interior space. Its cabin is also devoid of any usual automotive designs and instead is more living room-like. It even has magnetic plates and cups that can be placed on magnetic holders, so passengers can even enjoy a meal while on the go.
With Level 4 autonomy, the Audi AI:ME is designed to be completely autonomous within certain parameters. For instance, it can drive completely on its own in tight cities, where navigating is easy, and on clearly marked highways between certain speeds. The rest of the time, though, it will need a driver. During those times of autonomy, though, occupants can kick back, relax and enjoy the ride. Hell, they can all nap if they want to.
While this isn’t the most thrilling of concept cars, it’s the sort that will become more and more important as time goes on. In decades to come, such an idea won’t be radical but a commonplace.