You’ve heard of work from home, but Audi is hoping its new self-driving concept car will pen a new term: work from car.
Designed for the bumper-to-bumper traffic in Chinese megacities, the newly unveiled Audi Urbansphere concept car “acts as a lounge on wheels and a mobile office”, according to the German manufacturer.
While getting a first look at this concept car, Supercar Blondie’s Sergi Galiano described the urbansphere as “crazy”.
Inside some things are notably absent from the urbansphere: gone are the traditional steering wheel, pedals and dashboard.
These vanish when you turn on automated driving, which makes the space grow even more.
Passenger seats swivel to face each other and a privacy screen is mounted behind the headrest for those who might be a bit sick of chatting.
Another flashy feature is the transparent OLED screen that drops down from the roof to entertain restless long-haul travellers.
And not to skimp on sound quality, each seat has in-built speakers in the headrest.
Screens are also installed on the backs of the front seats, which have eye-tracking technology to scroll through menu options.
An unexpected feature is a self-illuminating umbrella, which takes its inspiration from traditional Chinese umbrellas.
“The inner skin of the umbrella is made of reflective material, so the entire surface acts as a glare-free lighting unit,” Audi says.
“The Audi Light Umbrella not only gives users a better view of their path, it becomes more visible – when crossing a street or in dangerous situations, activating a rhythmic flashing of the luminous cone by means of artificial intelligence and sophisticated sensor technology.
“And the Light Umbrella also literally places its wearer in the best possible light, given that it evenly illuminates their face for perfect selfies whenever needed.”
This marks the first time potential customers in China could take part in the development process of the car, according to Audi.
The urbansphere is the last installment of Audi’s three concept cars following the Skysphere and Grandsphere.
In the armrests, you’ll find VR glasses on the left and right doors.
To boost productivity while stuck in traffic, why not take care of your errands? The car can book a reservation at your favourite restaurant or order your groceries.
“To make e-mobility even more attractive, we think about it holistically and from the customer’s needs,” Markus Duesmann, chairman of the board management at AUDI AG, said.
Sustainability is also a major factor, with the seat padding made out of ECONYL, a recycled polyamide, and bamboo viscose fabric used for the armrests and rear.
A 10-minute charge is enough to charge the battery, which holds more than 120-kilowatt hours, to power the car for more than 300km.
It can be charged from 5 to 80 percent in less than 25 minutes.
The technology platform of the Urbansphere, the premium platform electric (PPE), was designed exclusively for battery-electric drive systems.
The Urbansphere is 5.51 m long, 2.01m wide and 1.78m high.