Dramatic surfaces, creased convex glass, strong wheel arches and enormous 26-inch wheels are all design cues meant to stamp personality on Audi's futuristic Aicon autonomous electric vehicle, a category of cars predicted to be devoid of personality.
Audi's aim with its Frankfurt Motor Show concept is to refute the notion that in a future of anonymous, generic autonomous taxis dispatched as needed by smartphone apps, people will no longer have any attachment to cars or interest in purchasing one of their own.
The Aicon ("A Icon," get it?) features a pack of 800-volt solid-body batteries that it says can charge to 80 percent of a claimed 500-mile driving range in just half an hour.
The car's four electric in-wheel motors produce a combined 350 horsepower for suitably quick acceleration. Aicon uses active air suspension to control each wheel's movement precisely for ideal ride and handling.
As there is no steering wheel in this fully self-driving car, Aicon uses all four of its wheels for turning to produce a tiny 27-foot turning radius, so the computer will be easily able to navigate crowded urban streets despite the car's ample size.
So parallel parking won't be a headache, even if it is the computer's problem and not yours.