Audi’s new stand-alone concept car is also a kind of transformer


This week, Audi unveiled details of a new concept car called the Skysphere, a self-driving roadster that can change shape at the touch of a button.

The sleek, grumpy convertible combines power transmission with luxurious amenities, allowing even Batman to find a little top. In particular, the vehicle has an adaptive wheelbase that can be resized to suit the driving style, as well as a digital cab with a retractable steering wheel and pedals that were left out when the car is driven by itself.

It has a more fantastic outlook than some other German carmakers recent concepts. But that doesn’t mean it’s less achievable; at the unveiling ceremony, Audi officials said Skysphere represents what the company believes it is likely to achieve in the second half of this decade when it turns to electric and stand-alone vehicles.

The Skysphere is expected to operate at a range of 500 km (310 miles), can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds, and provides approximately 553 pounds of torque. This all sounds pretty normal to a concept car, whose hood splits into two panels and opens like an elevator.

Undoubtedly, the jaw-dropping feature is an expandable wheelbase where the vehicle extends an extra 10 millimeters when switching between sports mode (4.94 meters long) and Grand Touring mode (5.19 meters). It may not seem like much, but it’s enough to substantiate Audi’s claims that you get essentially two vehicles together.

Retractable steering wheel and pedals are popular in concept cars, designed to emphasize the bridge between human and automated driving. Peugeot and Volkswagen Both unveiled concept cars with similar weaning controls.

It is not clear whether the rules will allow the sale of a car with a retractable steering wheel — although policymakers are working hard to improve traffic rules to better adapt to self-driving cars.

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