According to Audi, its 22-inch wheels and 33.5-inch off-road tyres give it more than a foot of ground clearance and the ability to ford water more than 18 inches deep.
At this year’s IAA 2019 (Frankfurt Motor Show), Audi showcased the AI:Trail quattro, a four-door electric vehicle that packs serious off-road capabilities and combines them with autonomous driving. According to Audi, its 22-inch wheels and 33.5-inch off-road tyres give it more than a foot of ground clearance and the ability to ford water more than 18 inches deep. The 429-horsepower-equivalent lithium-ion battery will go from 400-500 km on one charge—at least, hypothetically.
The ‘Trail’ part of the name evokes the idea of 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.
Eyes in the sky
Instead of conventional headlights, the AI : Trail quattro is equipped with five rotorless electrically-operated drones, called Audi Light Pathfinders, which generate their lift in the same way as bladeless fans produce their air flow. Thanks to their lightweight design, they can fly ahead of the AI:Trail and illuminate the path ahead, thereby replacing headlights entirely. They are also capable of landing directly on the roof of the vehicle, and docking onto the inductive charging elements.
When the AI: Trail is stationary, the drones can illuminate the surrounding area from their position on the roof; for example, when the occupants are enjoying a picnic next to the vehicle.
The AI: Trail quattro is the fourth entrant in the series of Audi concept cars with electric drive systems, which began with the Aicon at 2017 IAA, then the PB18 e-tron that made its debut in Pebble Beach in 2018, and followed by the AI:ME— at the 2019 Auto Shanghai—an autonomous city car aimed at megacities all over the world.