Everyone is talking about Audi’s latest concept, the AI: Trail, because not only does it have an impressive 500km of off-road range, hammock-style rear seats, suicide doors and on-road Level 4 autonomous capabilities – but it also has… drones for headlights! Yes, we actually said drones for headlights.
It is only a concept but Audi’s all-electric, all-terrain vehicle just might happen – after all, parent company Volkswagen says it will build that awesome electric dune buggy, so why can’t Audi make this?
Before the AI:Trail came the AI:Con, AI:Me, and AI:Race, and the latest packs massive 22in wheels housed under Wrangler-style flat fenders, a huge wraparound windshield and a phone port on the steering column. Power comes from four electric motors with 429 horses and a maximum torque of 1,000Nm.
But forget all of that for now, let’s get to those drones. Rather than using regular low beams and high beams, it is equipped with a total of five rotorless, triangular, electrically operated drones with integrated matrix LED elements that can land directly on the roof and docking onto the inductive charging elements. The ‘Audi Light Pathfinders’ can also fly ahead of the vehicle to illuminate the road while the on-board cameras relay a video image which can be transmitted to the hi-tech dash with glass on every surface.
With 13.4 inches of ground clearance, the ability to wade through 1.6 feet of water and boasting all-wheel drive, the AI:Trail should be a pretty capable buggy. Visibility would be excellent too what with its extremely airy interior.
If this is the future of high-tech electric off-roaders, consider us excited. And more than a little freaked out…