For over a century, the idea of driving a car has involved two things: a steering wheel, and an accelerator pedal.
However, that could one day come to an end after Audi unveiled a new electric concept car.
The Aicon is a fully autonomous four-door 2+2 seater that completely does away with the steering wheel and pedals, which are – in Audi’s view – “unnecessary”.
They justify this hands-off approach by saying “a cabin with no steering wheel or pedals can offer all the comforts of modern communications electronics and perfect ergonomics”.
Even without peering inside the Aicon, the car is a feast for the eyes with super futuristic curves, piercing three-dimensional headlights, draped in a reflective silver finish.
It makes a huge impression, literally, stretching for 5,444mm in total with a 3.47 metre wheelbase – which is 24cm more than the long wheelbase A8. It’s also more than two metres wide.
Colossal 26-inch wheels are pushed as far outward as possible, housed in strongly flared wheel wells.
Inside, the super reclined seats almost make you feel like you’ve visited the dentist. With no physical push-buttons available, the driver/user/whatever tells the car where to go and what to do using a wrap-around interface comprising touchscreen panels in the upper door.
As the name suggests, artificial intelligence (or AI) plays a major part in the car’s general operations, with the Siri-like PIA personal assistant handling any requests or commands you may have.
Weight is kept to a minimum to maximise the mileage range of the Aicon’s electric powertrain. As such, it can cover between 434 and 497 miles on a single charge. Recharging it isn’t a hassle though, and 80 per cent of the battery’s capacity can be replenished in half an hour.
The Aicon was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show and will remain on display for much of September.