SO we got an interesting insight into Audi at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

We discovered that their design team is in the 22nd century.

And their naming department is stuck in 1972.

The wraps were taken off this utterly stunning electric autonomous A8-sized concept…called the Aicon.

Nope, not aircon, but close.

Anyway, it gets worse.

Audi Aircon concept

Audi Aircon concept

Next out the wrapper was a new version of the e-tron Sportback coupe SUV show car we saw in Shanghai earlier this year with the same look but with more intelligent sensors and software.

This product of the future is called Elaine. Honestly.

Monikers apart, they are truly mouthwatering.

Audi Elaine concept

Audi Elaine concept

The Aicon pretty much needs no human to control whatsoever. No steering wheel, pedals or an interior as we know it.

Instead there are two swivelling chairs, a wraparound screen and a supplementary bench seat for any second-class passengers.

The doors open Rolls-Royce Phantom style, exposing a vast interior for you to relax and watch a film in, check your e-mails and Twitter feed, take a video call or just catch up on some kip.

On entering the vehicle, PIA, your “empathetic electronic vehicle assistant” recognises your phone and activates all your personal settings and comforts. There’s no need for a seatbelt either, say Audi, given that in a world with “a transportation infrastructure in which autonomously driving automobiles are a given on every street,” accidents will be a thing of the past.

Audi Aicon concept

Audi Aicon concept

Pedestrians will be safer, too, thanks to infinitely configurable LED panels, called “light fields” front and rear in the place of traditional headlights. “Eyes” either side of the grille will change from wide pupils for a friendlier appearance, to squinting for a more aggressive look.

The future is here.

The next generation of Vorsprung durch Technik is going to be out of this world.

And probably called Mildred.

Phil Lanning

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