Wednesday 13 November 2019

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Cork Independent


VW & Audi bring autonomous concept cars to Shanghai

Wednesday, 10th April, 2019 4:35pm

Both Volkswagen and Audi will bring along electrified, autonomous concept cars to the upcoming Shanghai Motor Show, peering into the future of both brands.

Audi’s peer probably goes a little bit further.

The four-ringed brand has recently been talking about concept cars that look ten or 15 years into its future, and the AI:ME concept appears to fit that bill rather nicely.

It’s a tall, compact, hatchback with faint overtones of the (ground-breaking) 1999 A2 hatch. The AI bit in its name presumably refers to artificial intelligence (we say presumably because Audi is still being quite tight-lipped on details) but it remains to be seen just how artificially intelligent the car might be, or how much Audi is simply tapping into a buzz-phrase.

The AI:ME takes some of its styling cues from the 2017 AICON concept saloon, which was also both powered by electricity and driven by computers.

The AI:ME will have a steering wheel — an aircraft-style U-shaped control yoke, that appears to fold away into the dashboard when not needed — but Audi has said that it “illustrates the vision of an automated driving compact car for the megacities of tomorrow”.

Volkswagen is faintly more forthcoming with details for its concept car. Dubbed the ID Roomzz, it joins the soon-to-launch ID hatchback as part of plans for VW’s new family of all-electric cars.

Based on the same MEB electric car platform and batteries, it’s been designed to be a roomy, versatile, family SUV “boasting completely new seat configurations, high-quality materials and customisable light”.

“The ID Roomzz shows us what we can expect from full-size electric SUVs in the future. The puristic look emphasises the clear function and the user experience is intuitive and natural,” said Klaus Bischoff, chief designer for VW.

The car clearly uses the same lights and ‘face’ as the ID hatchback, and has a roofline similar to that of the existing T-Roc SUV.

VW claims that the Roomzz is capable of level 4 autonomous driving, which means that theoretically you could let the car drive, under certain circumstances, and read a book or your emails.

Look at the roof — you can see the circles where VW has fitted it with retractable LIDAR sensors, the combination of laser and radar that allows autonomous cars to ‘see’ the road ahead.

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