Audi AI:Trail Revealed … the 4×4 of the future?

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ByIsaac BoberSeptember 11, 2019
Audi AI:Trail Revealed … the 4×4 of the future?

The Audi AI:Trail has been revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show with the German car maker claiming it’s the off-roader of the future.

The Audi AI:Trail is part of four other Audi AI concept vehicles, but this one boasts “the capacity for automated driving with superb off-road capabilities”. Borrowing from the buggy-look, Audi claims the AI:Trail is all about “exploring nature. That is why there are no big screens on board for streaming TV series or videoconferencing; instead, broad glass surfaces provide a clear view of the surroundings”.

And it gets weirder. See, the AI:Trail comes with a swarm of drones that can fly out in front of your vehicle and provide additional lighting when you’re off-road. Hmmm.

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The AI:Trail measures 4.15m long and 2.15m wide and stands 1.67m tall. Ground clearance measures 340mm but the water fording measurement is just 500mm. Weighing in at 1750kg the body is a mixture of high-strength steel, aluminium and carbon-fibre with an electric motor on all four wheels and the battery integrated into the floor. Combined output is 320kW and 1000Nm of torque.

“Due to the individually propelled wheels, the vehicle can do without differentials and locks, which also consume energy. Thanks to the moderately calculated maximum speed, the gear ratio can be designed such that every wheel is provided with enough torque even without a multi-speed transmission,” Audi said.

The windscreen and tailgate can be raised for access to storage space with separate storage in the bumper. The side sills double as retractable running boards allowing easy access to the roof rack.

So far, so very concept car predictable…but the tyres are a stand-out. See, the tyres on this concept offer sensor-controlled air pressure regulation, meaning they can determine the surface and then adjust the air pressure autonomously.

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Given it’s intended as an off-roader, this all-electric concept can cover up to 400km between charges, or around 250km when crawling around off-road. Top speed is 130km/h.

Don’t expect to see the AI:Trail hitting the tracks anytime soon, but some of the technology will definitely trickle down to road vehicles. Indeed, the self-pressure regulating tyres is something that brands like Continental have been teasing for years.

Question: Forget the rest of the thing, would tyres that could self-deflate and inflate be handy in the bush?