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The new concept from Audi is a fully electric off-roader with drones for headlights

Audi is not a brand that you would normally associate with off-road adventures, but that didn't stop the automaker from kicking some dirt off with its new concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2019. The Audi AI: Trail (perhaps it is less mouthful in German?) is a fully electric vehicle for all terrains for the future of outdoor adventures.

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Before we go to the specifications, you must bear in mind that this is only a concept and may never find its way to production. That said, the parent company of Audi, Volkswagen, claims that it will actually build the concept of the electric dune buggy that it introduced earlier this year – so who knows for sure?

The AI: Trail is fourth in a series of autonomous concepts from Audi, preceded by the Audi AI: Con, AI: Meand AI: Race. It is absolutely a "everything and the sink" type concept: large, thick 22-inch wheels; a powerful battery with 400 to 500 kilometers (248.5 to 310.7 miles) off-road range; large wrapped windshield; rear seats in hammock style; a telephone port on the steering column; suicide doors; and autonomous level 4 capabilities on the road (meaning that the vehicle can drive itself within a certain geographic area).

The AI: Trail & # 39; s powertrain consists of four electric motors with a capacity of 320 kilowatts and a maximum torque of 1,000 Newton meters (737.6 lb.ft.). That should be more than enough to rustle up a steep hill or to climb gravel on an unpaved road.

Trying to use shoehorn autonomy in an off-road vehicle sounds like a nightmare, but Audi explains that the AI: Trail & # 39; s self-propelled system is not meant to be used exclusively off the beaten track – just to experience it drive in to improve more natural environments.

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"The data on friction values ​​and slip, longitudinal and lateral acceleration provide the electronics with all the necessary parameters they need to optimize driving stability," says Audi.

Oh, did I mention that this thing has drones for headlights? Let's explain Audi here:

Instead of conventional low beam and high beam, the Audi AI: TRAIL is equipped with a total of five rotorless, triangular, electrically driven drones with integrated matrix LED elements. They can land on an roof rack or directly on the roof of the vehicle and lay on the inductive charging elements.

The flying objects are Audi Light Pathfinders, which generate their lift in the same way as leafless fans that produce their airflow. Thanks to their strikingly lightweight design, they can fly for the AI: TRAIL, consuming relatively little energy, and illuminating the path ahead, which means that headlights are completely replaced. If desired, the built-in camera & # 39; s generate a video image that can be sent via Wi-Fi to the driver's display, making the Pathfinders eyes in the air.

Yes, that's right: drones flying in front of the vehicle to illuminate the road. Extravagant? Absolutely. Impractical? Certainly. Rad like hell? Sure.