Another day in our childhood's future, another unveiling of an autonomy-focused concept.
This time it's the Audi AI:ME concept at the Shanghai motor show, inspired perhaps by the original Audi A2, merging the brand's latest and more organic styling language with a future-focused autonomous driving system.
Under the levels of autonomous driving established by the US-based Society of Automotive Engineers, Level 4 allows for full automation, in most situations, almost entirely without the need for driver intervention.
A licensed human driver will need to remain at the ready, however, in the event the vehicle must concede defeat and hand control back to its 'supervisor'.
Badged at the rear as an e-tron model, the AI:ME draws energy from a 65kWh battery pack, powering a rear-axle motor that promises 126kW of power.
Torque, and driving range, have not been detailed – but the 125kW unit in the original I.D. claimed a range of between 400 and 600 kilometres.
The concept measures in at 4.3 metres long and 1.9 metres wide, giving it dimensions comparable to the 5-door Audi A3 Sportback. The AI:ME is notably wider, though, with the A3 coming in at a relatively slender 1785mm.
Interestingly, the interior of the AI:ME presents a reasonably conventional space up front, with two separate seats for the part-time driver and full-time passenger. In the rear, however, is a retro bench design.
With the panoramic glass roof above wooden slats and green creeper vines, the rear row of the AI:ME could be considered a cosy love seat for those couples not averse to relatively public displays of affection…
Wooden accents feature elsewhere in the cabin too, starring in the ash, door panels and table-like console tops. We might never see touches like this make it to production, but the concept has some appeal.