Concept vehicles probably don’t come much more futuristic-looking than this, the Audi AI:Trail quattro, an electric off-roader that has debuted at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The four-seater car is equipped with four electric motors, systems for assisted and automated driving (up to Level 4) and quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Maximum system output is 320 kilowatts and the maximum torque is 1,000 Newton-metres.
The AI:Trail lithium-ion battery is good for 400km to 500km of range on roads or easy off-road terrain. On rough ground, where energy consumption is higher, Audi says the range limit will still be around the 250km mark.
In order to meet these range requirements, the vehicle is designed to reach a maximum speed of 130km/h on the road. The vehicle electronics continuously monitor the energy flow and consumption, ensuring maximum economy even during off-road driving.
It also helps that the AI:Trail is fairly light in weight for a vehicle with a big battery. Constructed of a mixture of high-tech steel, aluminium and carbon fibre, it comes in at 1,750 kilograms.
At 4.15 metres long and 2.15 metres wide, AI:Trail sits on whopping 22-inch wheels and has 340mm of ground clearance.
With its focus on off-road work, the AI:Trail doesn’t have some of the tech we might expect of new concepts – there are no big screens or displays on board. Instead, there’s plenty of broad glass surfaces that provide a clear view of the surroundings.
The interior is uncluttered. Pedals, a yoke for a steering wheel, a few buttons, and a smartphone attached to the steering column as a display and control centre for vehicle functions and navigation—those are all the elements there are for the interaction between the driver and the vehicle.
However, while there might appear to be less tech than on other concepts we see these days, there is at least one jaw-dropping feature on the AI:Trail.
Instead of conventional low beams and high beam lights, the vehicle is equipped with a total of five rotorless, triangular, electrically operated drones with integrated matrix LED elements. Yes. Drones. They are capable of landing on a roof rack or directly on the roof of the vehicle and docking onto the inductive charging elements.
They are known as Audi Light Pathfinders and are designed to fly ahead of the AI:Trail and illuminate the path ahead, replacing headlights entirely. Their on-board cameras can even generate a video image that can be transmitted to the display in front of the driver via Wi-Fi, turning the Pathfinders into eyes in the sky!