Audi has presented the Audi urbansphere concept vehicle, which is systematically designed from the inside out. The Audi urbansphere was conceived by designers and engineers for usage in congested Chinese megacities, but the idea may be applied to any major metropolitan area around the globe.
The concept vehicle provides the biggest internal capacity of any Audi to date in these metropolitan locations, where personal space is especially scarce. It smartly integrates this with technology and digital services that appeal to all five senses and provide a whole new level of experience.
“In order to meet the demands of our Chinese customers, Audi’s design studios in Beijing and Ingolstadt worked together closely to jointly develop the Audi urbansphere concept car,” says Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board Management at AUDI AG and responsible for the Chinese market.
For the first time, potential customers in China could also take part in the development process, contributing their own desires and perspectives as part of a process known as “co-creation”.
The Audi urbansphere concept and its especially distinctive interior are the outcomes. During the time spent stuck in traffic, the capacious vehicle serves as a mobile office and a lounge on wheels, doubling as a third living area. To that purpose, even during rush hour, the Audi urbansphere blends the pleasure of total seclusion with a wide variety of high-tech capabilities on board.
Automated driving technology turns the cabin of a vehicle, which lacks a steering wheel, pedals, or screens, into a mobile interactive place that connects to a larger digital ecosystem.
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The Audi urbansphere is the third of the “sphere” family of concepts
The three concept automobiles produced by the four-ringed brand to illustrate its vision for the world of luxury mobility of the future are the Audi skysphere, Audi grandsphere, and Audi urbansphere. In the process, Audi is developing a vehicle experience that goes much beyond just getting from point A to point B.
The Audi skysphere concept, an electric-powered roadster, made its premiere in August 2021. It showed off a stunning concept of a self-driving GT that can morph into a self-driving sports vehicle with a flexible wheelbase.
Audi debuted the Audi grandsphere concept, the second vehicle in the sphere series, at the IAA 2021, only a few weeks later. The brand’s mission to establish the future of progressive luxury was embodied by this big four-seater car.
The Audi urbansphere and both concept vehicles have one thing in common: they’re both based on level 4 autonomous driving technology. Audi is now collaborating with CARIAD, the software division of the Volkswagen Group, to bring this technology to market in the second half of the decade.
All about the interior atmosphere
„To make e-mobility even more attractive, we think about it holistically and from the customer’s needs,” says Markus Duesmann.
The Audi urbansphere concept is the biggest vehicle in the sphere family and of all Audi concept cars to date, even at first appearance. The Audi urbansphere concept’s vast proportions – 5.51 meters (18 feet) long, 2.01 meters (6.6 feet) broad, and 1.78 meters (5.8 feet) high – position it in the highest echelons of the automobile industry, yet it defies the segment’s standards.
This is due to the fact that it was built from the ground up with the passengers in mind. The unequaled 3.40-meter wheelbase is the most essential measurement (11.2 feet).
The Audi urbansphere’s interior does not follow the typical maxim of cramming as many seats, storage compartments, and functional items as possible into a space-constrained by driving dynamics. Instead, it emphasizes the requirement for considerable space as a distinguishing comfort aspect for the passengers.
More than ever before, it is the whole ecosystem, not just the product, that determines success. As a result, Audi is developing a holistic ecosystem that includes services for the whole vehicle.
The Audi urbansphere idea also provides everyone aboard with a variety of ways to utilize that flexibility to create a highly individualized in-car experience: conversation or leisure, work or retreat into a private sphere as desired. As a result, it shifts from being only a vehicle to an “experience device.”
The possibilities are practically unlimited thanks to Audi’s own choices and the potential to connect digital services from other sources. These may be used to get access to a variety of services linked to your current journey. The vehicle can also do jobs that aren’t related to the travel, such as making dinner reservations or buying online from inside the automobile.
Furthermore, the self-driving Audi urbansphere concept picks up passengers from their homes and takes care of locating a parking spot and charging the battery on its own.
Customized infotainment options, such as seamless integration of onboard music and video streaming services, are also available. Audi will also provide consumers with special benefits, such as tickets to concerts, cultural events, and athletic events tailored to their specific interests.
The elements that create the experience
The front and rear doors of the Audi urbansphere concept are counter-hinged, and there is no B-pillar. As a consequence, passengers get access to the whole interior of the urbansphere as soon as they board. Swivel-outward seats and a red carpet of light projected into the ground adjacent to the vehicle turn the process of getting into the automobile into a relaxing experience.
Even for a luxury-class car, a wheelbase of 3.40 meters (11.2 feet) and a vehicle width of 2.01 meters (6.6 feet) define a more than a majestic footprint. These proportions, along with 1.78 meters (5.8 feet) of headroom and vast glass surfaces, provide an interior that seems unusually roomy.
Passengers may enjoy magnificent first-class luxury in four separate seats in two rows. The back seats have a very large size and a broad variety of adjustability possibilities.
The backrest may be adjusted up to 60 degrees in the Relax and Entertain modes, while the leg rests expand at the same time. The center-mounted armrests in the sides of the seats, as well as their equivalents in the doors, provide a secure sense.
In a number of ways, the seats also accommodate passengers’ growing social demands. They may turn to face each other on their swiveling chairs while speaking. Those who want privacy may use a privacy screen attached beneath the headrest to obscure their head region from the person sitting next to them.
Furthermore, each seat has its own sound zone, complete with speakers in the headrest. The backs of the front seats have individual displays as well.
On the other hand, there is a large-format and transparent OLED panel that pivots vertically from the roof region into the zone between the rows of seats when passengers desire to utilize the entertainment system together.
The two passengers in the rear seat may use this “theater screen,” which spans the whole width of the cabin, to participate in a video conference or watch a movie together. It’s even feasible to employ split-screen mode.
When the screen is not in use, the transparent design allows for a clear view into the front or – when folded upwards – through the glass roof area to the sky.
The inside of the urbansphere, like the Audi grandsphere concept, combines space and architecture, digital technology, and real materials into a unified unit. The lines draw attention to the car’s horizontal proportions. The open, spacious interior contributes to the feeling of being in a one-of-a-kind location.
During autonomous driving, the steering wheel, pedals, and traditional dashboard may be covered, giving the impression of more transparency and space.
The two chairs with integrated seat belts have visibly distinct sitting surfaces and backs. A central console that swivels upwards is located between the back seats, which are ordinarily locked in a low position. It comes equipped with a water dispenser and glasses, demonstrating the Audi urbansphere concept’s first-class credentials.
The Audi urbansphere also qualifies as a wellness zone, due to novel digital choices that arose in part from feedback from Chinese consumers during the co-creation process.
Stress detection is an excellent example: this adaptive program uses facial scans and voice analysis to determine how passengers are feeling and then provides personalized relaxation suggestions, such as a meditation app that can be accessed via the personal screen and the private sound zone in the headrests.
The exterior follows the interior’s lead regarding flow and space
The flowing silhouette of the vehicle body features traditional Audi shapes and elements, which are combined here to create a new composition featuring the distinctive Singleframe, with the digital eyes of the adjacent lighting units, a widely curved, dynamic roof arch, a massive rocker panel that conceals the battery unit, large 24-inch six double-spoke wheels that convey lightweight design and stability, reminiscing the iconic Audi Avus concept car
The big, flat windscreen emphasizes the inferred wedge form of the car body. There are enormous digital lighting surfaces in the front and back that make their imprint on the design while also serving as communication pieces.
Audi’s urbansphere defies categorization into traditional car classes. Nonetheless, at first sight, it seems to be a standard Audi. The resemblance to the Audi grandsphere concept is especially striking. The vehicle body’s monolithic form, as well as the sculpted, soft contour of the wheel arches, have similarities to these two concept automobiles.
This is an electric car, as shown by its lengthy wheelbase of well over three meters (9.8 feet) and small overhangs. Despite the Audi urbansphere’s majestic dimensions, traits like elegance, dynamism, and an organic design language quickly come to mind, just as they do in the substantially flatter grandsphere.