German car maker Audi has unveiled a new concept car offering a "radical vision" for the future of urban travel.
The Urbansphere, originally designed and engineered for use in China’s megacities, will also be suitable for use in other cities around the world, the company said.
Measuring over 5.5m long and 2m wide, the fully autonomous electric vehicle is the biggest of Audi’s concepts, primarily because it has been designed around the passengers.
The car company is working with Volkswagen’s software business to introduce the level 4 automation technology required for the "lounge on wheels and mobile office" in the second half of this decade.
The technology means there is no steering wheel or pedals, or normal car displays, meaning the interior can be a space that can be used in multiple different ways, with Audi labelling it an "experience device".
Inside, the swivelling seats are set in two rows of two. The rear seats able to be tilted back 60 degrees with extendable leg rests.
All seats turn so that four passengers could have a conversation while the car is driving but there are also privacy options built in.
That includes a screen mounted behind the headrest that can be flipped to conceal a passenger’s head from the other passengers.
Each seat also has built-in speakers and its own sound zone, with individual monitors in the back of the front seats, allowing those inside to have their own entertainment.
A mounted transparent OLED screen can also be lowered from the roof to allow those in the rear-seats to watch movies or take part in video conferences.
The company also plans a stress detection program on board which will use facial scans and voice analysis to work out how passengers are feeling. It can then offer personalised relaxation suggestions such as meditation via the private sound zone or screens.
The 120 kilowatt hour battery can be charged at up to 270 kilowatts at fast-charging stations, ensuring a ten minute charge could power the car for more than 300km.
It will also charge from 5 to 80 percent of battery in under 25 minutes, the company said – enough for 750km of driving.
There are two motors driving the Audi Urbansphere, one at the front and one at the rear, giving the electronically controlled all-wheel drive system the ability to balance economy versus range.
The Urbansphere is the third of the company’s concept ‘sphere’ cars following on from the convertible Skysphere and the Grandsphere sedan.
No further details were provided for if or when the company would be likely to put the Urbansphere into production.
Other companies, including DeLorean and Volkswagen, have been working on their electric vehicles as the motoring world starts the pivot away from internal combustion engines.
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