Systematically designed from the inside out, Audi has unveiled plans for the Audi urbansphere concept car. Designers and engineers initially created the Audi urbansphere for use in traffic-dense Chinese megacities, although the concept is also suitable for any other metropolitan center in the world. In these urban areas, where personal space is in particularly short supply, the concept car offers the largest interior space of any Audi to date. It intelligently coordinates this with technologies and digital services that appeal to all the senses and offer a whole new level of experience. The result can be seen in the Audi urbansphere concept and its particularly striking interior. The spacious automobile acts as a lounge on wheels and a mobile office, serving as a third living space during the time spent in traffic. To this end, the Audi urbansphere combines the luxury of complete privacy with a comprehensive range of high-tech features on board, even during the daily rush hour. Automated driving technology transforms the interior, in which a steering wheel, pedals, or displays are notably absent, into a mobile interactive space that provides a gateway to a wider digital ecosystem. 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”.
Thanks to Audi’s own options and the ability to integrate digital services from other providers, the possibilities are nearly endless. These can be used to access a wide range of services related to the current trip. The vehicle also takes care of everyday tasks that go beyond the ride itself – such as making dinner reservations or shopping online from the car. In addition, the autonomous Audi urbansphere concept picks up its passengers at home and independently takes care of finding a parking space and charging the battery. Even at first glance, the Audi urbansphere concept reveals itself to be the largest model in the sphere family and of all Audi concept cars to date. Its grand dimensions – 5.51 meters (18 feet) long, 2.01 meters (6.6 feet) wide, and 1.78 meters (5.8 feet) high – place it in the upper echelons of the automotive world, yet the Audi urbansphere concept radically breaks with the conventions of the segment. This is because it has been systematically designed around its passengers, from the inside out. The most important dimension is the unrivaled wheelbase of 3.40 meters (11.2 feet). The interior of the Audi urbansphere is not subject to the conventional maxim of squeezing as many seats, storage compartments, and functional elements as possible into a space limited by the physics of driving. Instead, it prioritizes the occupants’ need to experience ample space as a distinctive comfort factor.
“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. 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”. To make e-mobility even more attractive, we think about it holistically and from the customer’s needs,” says Markus Duesmann. More than ever before, it is not just the product that is decisive, but the entire ecosystem. That is why Audi is creating a comprehensive ecosystem with services for the entire car. The Audi urbansphere concept also offers everyone onboard a wide range of options to use that freedom to provide a highly-personalized in-car experience: communication or relaxation, work or withdrawal into a private sphere as desired. As such, it transforms from being strictly an automobile into an “experience device,” says Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board Management at AUDI AG and responsible for the Chinese market.
Audi skysphere, Audi grandsphere, and Audi urbansphere are the three concept cars that the brand with the four rings has developed to showcase its vision for the world of premium mobility of tomorrow. In the process, Audi is creating a vehicle experience that goes far beyond the purpose of merely spending time in a car to get from point A to point B. Just a few weeks later, Audi unveiled the second model in the sphere series, the Audi grandsphere concept, at the IAA 2021. This large four-seater sedan exemplified the brand’s ambition to define the future of progressive luxury. Sphere number 1: The electrically driven roadster Audi skysphere concept debuted in August 2021. It presented a spectacular vision of a self-driving GT that transforms into a self-driving sports car with a variable wheelbase. What both concept cars have in common with the Audi urbansphere is that the entire concept is based on level 4 autonomous vehicle technology. Audi is currently working with CARIAD, Volkswagen Group’s software business, to introduce this technology within the second half of the decade. Customized infotainment offerings are also available, such as the seamless integration of onboard music and video streaming services. Audi will also offer customers exclusive perks, including access to concerts, cultural events, and sporting events based on their individual preferences.
The doors of the Audi urbansphere concept are counter-hinged at the front and the rear; there is no B-pillar. As a result, the whole world of urbansphere interior opens up to passengers as soon as they climb in. Seats that swivel outward and a red carpet of light projected onto the ground next to the vehicle transform the very act of entering the car into an experience of comfort. A wheelbase of 3.40 meters (11.2 feet) and a vehicle width of 2.01 meters (6.6 feet) delineate what is a more than stately footprint, even for a luxury-class automobile. Together with 1.78 meters (5.8 feet) of headroom and expansive glass surfaces, these dimensions provide an exceptionally spacious experience of the interior. Four individual seats in two rows offer passengers luxurious first-class comfort. The seats in the rear offer particularly generous dimensions and a wide range of adjustment options. In Relax and Entertain modes, the backrest can be tilted up to 60 degrees while leg rests extend at the same time. The center-mounted armrests integrated into the sides of the seats and their counterparts in the doors create a comforting feeling of security.
The seats also cater to passengers’ changing social needs in a variety of ways. While conversing, they can turn to face each other on their swiveling seats. On the other hand, those who want some seclusion can conceal their head area from the person sitting next to them using a privacy screen mounted behind the headrest. In addition, each seat has its own sound zone with speakers in the headrest area. Individual monitors are also built into the backs of the front seats. When passengers want to use the infotainment system together, on the other hand, there is a large-format and transparent OLED screen that pivots vertically from the roof area into the zone between the rows of seats. Using this “cinema screen,” which occupies the entire width of the interior, the two passengers in the back row can take part in a video conference together or watch a movie. Even split-screen use is possible. When the screen is not in use, it offers a clear view into the front thanks to its transparent design or – when folded upwards – through the glass roof area to the sky. Like in the Audi grandsphere concept, the interior of the urbansphere blends space and architecture, digital technology, and authentic materials into a single entity. The lines emphasize the vehicle’s horizontal proportions. The open, wide interior supports the impression of a one-of-a-kind space. The steering wheel, pedals, and conventional dashboard can be hidden during automated driving, which enhances the feeling of transparency and spaciousness.
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