Audi has shown off sketches of its new AI:me concept, which will debut at the Shanghai Motor Show later this month.
The brand hasn’t released many details to accompany the teaser sketches but calls it an ‘automated driving compact car for the megacities of tomorrow’.
That autonomous functionality is clearly where the AI – or ‘artificial intelligence’ — in the car’s name comes from. Though the sketches do show a car with a steering wheel, confirming that drivers will be able to take control of the car if they wish, it would seem Audi’s chasing full autonomy without the need for driver intervention with the AI:me.
The teaser sketches show the AI:me to have a ‘tallboy’ hatchback design, characteristic of vehicles such as the Volkswagen ID. Hatch and Seat El-Born already revealed by Audi’s sister companies. This suggests that the AI:me would sit on the same Volkswagen Group MEB electric chassis as those cars, were it to reach production.
Typical Audi design flair is there to be seen, however, with the brand’s corporate ‘face’ given an electric makeover in the form of a large, blanked-out trapezoidal grille and sharp creases down the flanks. An upright rear and split across the tailgate conjures up images of the brand’s previous ground-breaking hatchback, the A2.
Meanwhile, the minimalist interior sketch shows a cut-off steering wheel and what appears to be a stack of three ultra-wide displays in front of the driver.
All this said, it is unlikely that the AI:me directly previews an eventual production model. However, it could show Audi’s intention for the design direction of its e-tron models, as well as cement the brand’s commitment to fully autonomous vehicles.
The full-sized AI:me concept will go on display at the Shanghai Motor Show, which begins in the Chinese city on April 16.