AI:Trail is Audi's Off-Road Pod Racer

A1912081 Medium

Audi’s future SUV is a combination of AI ability and completely repackaged passenger comfort.

The brand’s AI:Trail is a vision of what Audis might look like a decade or more into the future when mobility behaviour starts tipping more toward autonomous pods than driven vehicles.

Audi sees this future as a design possibility where occupant comfort, instead of driver ergonomics, are the priority. As such, the AI:Trail features a large glass cockpit area and has proportions more akin to that of a transport pod than a conventional SUV.

In terms of dimensions this new concept is about Audi’s Q3-sized in length, but has a proportionally huge wheelbase, to ensure optimal cabin space.

To construct the AI:Trail concept Audi’s used different elements from the VW Group parts-bin. Its skateboard battery floorplan is sourced from VW’s new MEB platform, whilst the powertrain is a joint-venture PPE architecture, developed by Audi and Porsche.

The electric drive system peaks at 320 kW and 1 000 Nm, which is good for a top speed of 160 kph and on-road range of 400 km. In off-road conditions, Audi is claiming a driving endurance of 250 km.

Audi’s AI:Trail concept also envisions level 4 driving autonomy and rolls experimental tyres which have a self-inflation function, capable of adding 60 mm of additional ground clearance or an elongated contact patch for superior off-road traction.

This AI:Trail’s off-roading potential is potentially remarkable with quattro electric all-wheel drive, 340 mm of ground clearance and a relatively low mass of 1 740 kg for the surplus of available power.

With its enormous greenhouse, Audi is illustrating that the SUVs of our future will enable you to see a lot more of the terrain and environment you are travelling over (and through) than before.

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