The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - LIFE -

Audi pre­sented a trio of cars that rep­re­sents the next three steps to­wards au­ton­o­mous driv­ing. Its A8 limou­sine, due mid-2018, will be the first car with level 3 au­ton­omy, where the driver can take their hands off the wheel for ex­tended pe­ri­ods at 60km/h un­der spec­i­fied con­di­tions. Its Sport­back Elaine con­cept en­vis­ages the look of a level 4 car, where au­ton­omy is to­tal within de­fined ar­eas.

Most fu­tur­is­tic of all, Aicon is a vision of a lux­ury four-door four-seater with level 5 au­ton­omy, in which a wheel and ped­als are no longer re­quired. The Aicon’s doors open gate-style to re­veal a spa­cious in­te­rior widened at eye level by con­vex glass. The front seats swivel and slide while the en­tire cabin is en­cir­cled by a con­trol panel with dis­plays that move in sync with the seats. The ex­te­rior fea­tures enor­mous 26-inch wheels and un­in­ter­rupted sur­faces. In­stead of head­lights and tail-lights, large “light fields” be­come sig­nalling de­vices to other road users, in­di­cat­ing when the car is ac­cel­er­at­ing, brak­ing or warn­ing of dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions. With four mo­tors, Aicon is all-wheel drive and pri­ori­tises ef­fi­ciency, with a range up to 800km.

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