New Audi AI:ME concept revealed at Shanghai Motor Show

The new Audi AI:ME concept has been revealed in Shanghai, previewing future autonomous driving technology

The new Audi AI:ME concept has been unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show, showcasing the brand's vision for a fully autonomous urban city car.

While Audi says the AI:ME previews “the vision of an automated driving compact car for the megacities of tomorrow” with 'Level 4' autonomous technology removing the need for a driver, the AI:ME is not intended to preview a future production model.

The carmaker hasn’t confirmed what platform the AI:ME is based on, however its dimensions (4,300mm long, 1,900mm wide and 1,520mm tall) all but confirm that it’s based on the MEB platform being used in the forthcoming Volkswagen ID. hatchback and a swathe of other electric vehicles.

Indeed, its wheelbase of 2,770mm is identical to that of the Audi Q4 e-tron concept.

A single electric motor sends 168bhp to the rear wheels, although no other performance figures have been given.

Audi believes the AI:ME would suit a subscription service model, whereby customers hail the car via a smartphone app. Seating layouts, the interior temperature and even the colour of the car itself could be selected prior to its arrival.

The Audi AI:ME concept is described as a '2-plus-x-seater', with open, rear-hinged back doors, along with fully configurable seating, storage and surfaces. The concept is presented in a four-seat layout.

“The shape makes a lot of sense,” Audi’s chief of exterior design, Andreas Mindt, told our sister title Auto Express. “It’s very aerodynamic and lends to the space inside. It’s the best shape you can have for a compact car.”

The AI:ME's headlights are obscured by a grille pattern extending over the wheelarch. Uninterrupted styling lines appear to reach from the front all the way back to the rear.

The Audi AI:me features a sweeping roofline – common to many electric-car concepts – for an efficient, aerodynamic profile, while concave wheels add to its visual impact.

The wheels are pushed out to the corners of the car in order to maximise interior space, while the high belt line is designed to increase shoulder room inside.

Passengers benefit from a focus on luxury, with wood, textiles and mineral composites used on the interior. A full-length glass roof and large windows make the AI:ME feel light and airy, while real plants are designed to create a relaxed vibe in contrast to the urban environment outside.

Active noise cancellation allows the concept to run in near-silence, with magnetised areas designed to hold metal plates and cups on the move. Passengers can view films on the vast display on the dashboard, or alternatively use linked virtual-reality goggles.

Meanwhile, the steering wheel looks like that of a race car, with options for drive, neutral and reverse modes included.

Touch panels on the driver-side door incorporate controls for audio volume, while a battery symbol could refer to the charging status of the car, or perhaps that of a connected smartphone.