The Audi AI: TRAIL Quattro off-roader of tomorrow

September 10th, 2019, Audi has completed its quartet of visionary vehicles with the advent of the EV off-roader at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It will be displayed on the Audi stand in Hall 3 at the show alongside the Audi Aicon, AI: ME, AI: RACE as part of the comprehensive concept for sustainable mobility off the beaten track. The vehicle is equipped with four electric motors and Quattro drive. It features emission-free driving for sustainability.   

This is how Marc Lichte, Audi’s Head of Design, describes the use case: “With the AI: TRAIL, we are showing an off-road concept with an emissions-free electric drive for an innovative driving experience away from paved roads. Consistent with this, we designed a monolithic basic vehicle body with maximum glazing to create an intense connection to the surroundings. A concept for sustainable mobility on demand.”

Insights on the exterior

The Audi AI: TRAIL has an exterior length of 4.15 meters and a width of 2.15 meters which speaks for its potential away from paved roads. It has massive 22-inch wheels with 850mm tires that make it a beast for impressive off-road capabilities. The vehicle’s body stands 34 cm above the ground allowing it to cut through the water more than half a meter deep. 

Digging into the cabin, it is large enough to fit in four people due to the polygonal shapes. The electric drive system is organized around the axles and the battery is on the floor of the cabin. The vehicle has no room for separate attachments. Audi with all its four models is trying to demonstrate that the one-box design is the future of the electric vehicle. Lightweight and maximum body stiffness are, of course, important technical objectives for off-roaders in particular. That is why the body of the Audi AI: TRAIL is made of a mixture of high-tech steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber. 

Inside the Interior

Audi AI: TRAIL

The interior in all its glory is spacious and organized with only a few control elements. It has been painted with light colours with a low dashboard. The front and side glasses are all large allowing for a broad view of the outside world with a fully glazed roof. 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.

The material used in the interior gives a natural earthy feel with the blue and grey surfaces and earthy tones. The luggage compartment has been equipped with smooth wool that gives a cosy contrast. There is a storage space between the seats as well as under the windscreen. The two seats in the back are good for relaxation in more ways than one, as they can even be taken out of the AI: TRAIL and used as mobile outdoor chairs.

An all-round visibility experience

The windscreen of the vehicle goes a long way to the top and sides giving a helicopter-like view from the front. The entire roof is also glazed and gives a beautiful view of the sky and the landscape around it. Mobility and multi-functionality are features of the Audi AI: TRAIL’s light sources as well. Instead of conventional headlights, self-contained light sources sit below the A-pillars and can shine both outward and inward. Instead of conventional low beams and high beams, the Audi AI: TRAIL is equipped with a total of five rotors, triangular, electrically operated drones with integrated matrix LED elements. 

Automated driving and driver assistance

The Audi AI: TRAIL is designed for driving on roads up to level 4. Level 4 is considered to be the second-highest level on a standardized international scale. On this level, the system does not require as such assistance on part of the driver but it is only limited to certain areas such as highways or inner cities areas. When the car is out of these zones, the driver has to take back the control and Audi has included an incredible steering wheel and set of pedals for that purpose. 

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