The curtain goes up on self-driving cars of the future: Matthias Müller, the CEO of the Volkswagen Group, had hardly finished announcing the company’s plans to launch the biggest electric-car offensive ever seen in the automotive industry when Audi got into the act and sent the Aicon, a level-five concept car, rolling into the hall. Level five means one thing: The Aicon drives itself. Passengers do not have to keep their eyes peeled on the road ahead as they cruise along and enjoy a tremendous new feeling of freedom. All by itself, the car pulled up before the audience gathered for the IAA Preview Night on Monday at the exhibition grounds in Frankfurt.
“Audi has something very special for you today,” Rupert Stadler, the CEO of Audi, said as he introduced the vehicle. The Aicon embodies the company’s commitment to a clear vision of autonomous driving in the premium segment, Stadler said. The four-door, 2+2 seat vehicle also takes a leap into the future with its exterior and interior design concept. The vehicle has no a steering wheel or pedals. It is a totally electric vehicle and will be able to cover distances of 700 kilometers to 800 kilometers on one battery charge.
Autonomous driving in three steps – this is Audi’s slogan at this year’s International Motor Show (IAA). In addition to the Aicon, the brand presented the new A8 – the world’s first production car designed for highly automated level-three driving. What’s special: The Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 60 km/h on interstates and multi-lane highways with a physical barrier separating the two directions of traffic. The system handles starting from a stop, accelerating, steering and braking in its lane. Once drivers have activated the AI button on the center console, they can take their foot off the gas pedal and let go of the steering wheel for extended periods of time. Audi also presented the level-four study “Elaine” that is based on the Audi e-tron Sportback concept and provides drivers with additional smart technology support.
In addition to a look at the future of mobility, the Preview Night also offered a variety of fascinating models from the present day: They range from the Volkswagen T-Roc and Porsche Cayenne to the super sports car Bugatti Chiron. The Volkswagen brand also presented the new I.D. Crozz. Drawing on the first version that was unveiled last April in Shanghai, Volkswagen offered a glimpse of the production version. The I.D. Crozz is a crossover of SUV and coupé. It will be introduced to the market in 2021.
With vehicles, displays and question-and-answer sessions, the Group’s other brands also offered insights into the future of mobility. Under the slogan “Driven by positive energy,” ŠKODA invited visitors to sit down, put on virtual-reality glasses and take a spin in a self-driving car: The rider can sit back, enjoy the view of the countryside, chat on the phone and watch birds fly while gazing through the vehicle’s panorama roof. It can be so wonderful – the future of mobility.
Information for consumers:
A8 – The vehicle is not on sale yet. It has not yet been homologated and is not subject to the directive 1999/94/EC as a result.
T-Roc – The vehicle is not on sale yet and is not subject to the directive 1999/94/EC as a result.
I.D. CROZZ – Study – the study is not for sale and is not subject to the directive 1999/94/EC as a result.
Cayenne – Mileage in l/100km: city 11.3–11.1; highway 8.0–7.9 combined 9,2–9,0; CO₂ emissions combined: 209–205g/km; CO₂ efficiency class: G
Bugatti Chiron: Mileage, l/100km: city 35.2 / highway 15.2 / combined 22.5; CO2 emissions combined, g/km: 516; efficiency class: G