Audi has unveiled activesphere – its latest concept car following the skysphere, grandsphere, and urbansphere EVs. In addition to providing a retractable open cargo bed for recreational in the rear, called active back, the four-door crossover coupé offers AR headsets that provide a mixed reality user experience for drivers and passengers alike.
Leveraging Audi’s PPE modular architecture, activesphere supports a vehicle range exceeding 372 miles (600 km), with fast charging times enabled by its 800-volt battery system. A 100 kWh battery enables a maximum charging capacity of 270 kW at DC public charging stations, allowing for more than 186 miles (300 km) to be replenished in 10 minutes, with a 5 to 80 percent recharge taking 25 minutes. Electric motors on the front and rear axles of the concept’s AWD powertrain deliver a total output of 425 hp (325 kW) as well as 531 lb-ft (720 Nm) of torque.
When the vehicle’s autonomous mode is activated, its dashboard, steering wheel, and pedals retract. If the user wishes to take over, these elements return to their prior positions, though their positions can be adjusted by the user to suit their ergonomic needs. A console in the roof, directly above the center console, houses the four AR headsets for the mixed reality system.
The system blends the user’s immediate view of the environment and route with virtual 3D content, including graphics, interactive elements, and key information. Drivers and passengers can customize these elements to their liking, allowing drivers to see relevant information, such as their driving status and navigation directions. Passengers can meanwhile begin looking into and preparing activities at the destination ahead of arrival.
Through the headset, users will initially be able to view virtual information only. When focusing their eyes on it, the system provides more detailed information. The headset will also recognize gestures, through which some vehicle functions can be controlled while wearing it. Here, for example, a digital AC graphic that floats above the air vent can adjust the temperature – while a interactive entertainment and sound panel can control its multimedia functions.
Each occupant will also have control over the temperature and air supply for their seating area, as well as the ability to individually browse through music apps. In matching the geometry of the activesphere’s interior, the headsets can project virtual index cards onto the center console – helping users virtually access web content.
In the activesphere’s off-road mode, high-resolution 3D topography graphics can be projected onto the landscape outside, alongside navigation and destination details. Traffic safety information, including alerts for traffic jams or slippery roads, can also be displayed.
Information about the car itself, the battery range, and the nearest charging stations can be accessed inside and outside the vehicle. When needed, advance warnings, of low tire pressure for example, and a weather forecast function can be quickly accessed.