Audi AI: ME - the car
The car loses its role as a status symbol? Audi sees this differently and presents a car-sharing vehicle for show-offs. The AI: ME splashes and shows - but saves in an unusual place.
In cities like Shanghai, driving at peak times is already hell. Two hours for ten kilometers are not rare, the air is so thick that you can barely see and breathe. Almost all studies on urban development conclude that things are getting even worse: people are moving from the countryside to the cities, traffic is continuing to consolidate.
Carsharing, robotic taxis and all the other promises of the beautiful new world of automobiles are causing problems for premium manufacturers in particular - because they live on the fact that people pay a lot of money for their own car. Practical vehicles for sharing - sometimes with washable seats such as the Smart Vision EQ - fit little to Mercedes, Porsche, BMW and Co.
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Audi has now shown a car that can do both: relieve the city and still convey the feeling of luxury and privacy. So that the hell of Shanghai loses its terror. AI: ME call the Ingolstadt the study that came out of it. Audi's head of design Marc Lichte talks about the first car for the premium carsharing of the future.
It's not just about getting the inmates safely and quickly from A to B. But to make the journey as comfortable as possible for them, says Lichte, looking into the interior lined with wool, wood and corian. Front has two comfortable seats and in the rear a cushion which is more sofa than bench.
While the autopilot is tormented by the traffic jam, the AI: ME becomes a chill-out area on wheels. Meditative music and light games relax the passengers, the car suppresses all outside noise. The air is so clear that the ivy sprouts under the pergola on the glazed roof and in the front of the dashboard - this is Audi's interpretation of exaggeration.
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There are hardly any controls anymore. "First, because people will be too short in the car to learn their role," Lichte says. "Second, because you can solve it smarter," says the designer, stroking the door console. This becomes the touchpad, while Lichte selects the next menu with his view of the screen under the windshield.
And because AI: ME should drive at least in certain neighborhoods and situations alone, the steering wheel disappears at the touch of a button. It fuses with what's left of the dashboard to a small table.
From the perspective of many experts, Audi is taking the right path. "Time is the new premium," says car professor Stefan Bratzel from the College of Business in Bergisch Gladbach. "Suppliers need to design premium mobility services that allow mobility time to be targeted."
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While trying to interpret the future, Audi has apparently also used in its own history. The longer you look at the AI: ME, the more you feel reminded of the Audi A2, although the half a meter shorter and much narrower than the study, which is not a small car with 4.30 x 1.90 meters.
Above all, the convex rear window revives the past. Unlike the A2 pulls the kink from behind but around the entire car and runs right through the side windows. This makes the AI: ME unmistakable - and extremely spacious, which is particularly good for the shoulder room.
The lighting concept makes the AI: ME a light organ on wheels, with LED elements on the front, side and rear. It's more about safety than show. The AI: ME communicates according to Audi so with the other road users.
Great alternative to the taxi
Audi also tries something new while driving. Perhaps for the first time, Bayern refuse the arms race and rely on a simple drive. Finally, the AI: ME most of the time only with 20 to 70 km / h on the way. There must be 175 electric horsepower on the rear axle. So a 75 kWh battery is sufficient to purr for five to six hours through the city.
For light, the AI: ME is part of a family of cars that will be tailored to individual uses. So he sees in the Aicon of the IAA 2017, the long-distance car of the autonomous age, the PB18 is with all technology, an analog as possible racing car for the fun on the track, and now the AI: ME the noble alternative to the taxi. The customer will not own any of these cars, but will lend them if necessary or let them come by themselves.
For automobile economist Bratzel this is a business with a future. He does not believe that the ownership of the car ends the desire for self-expression: "There will also be different performance and price classes for sharing offers," the professor is convinced: "People want to differentiate themselves and are willing to pay for it. "