An Audi with drones for headlights was discussed on Joe Rogan’s podcast last week — but is it a real thing?
Late last year, Audi offered a preview of its AI:TRAIL Concept, which was first unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show.
The truly futuristic four-wheeler is certainly not a passenger vehicle in the traditional sense. The all-wheel, all-electric concept vehicle is one-of-a-kind, and DOES include drones for headlights, although obviously this isn’t a car you’ll see on the roads anytime soon.
The headlights are still very much in the concept stage, but Audi has certainly indicated how a vehicle’s main headlights need not remain stuck in a single place and serve a single purpose.
Audi AI:TRAIL Concept vehicle’s drone ‘headlights’ can fly
The Audi AI:TRAIL Concept vehicle’s drones headlights will of course offer illumination, but they are not locked into place as is the case in conventional vehicles today.
Instead, they rest on the top of the vehicle, and serve multiple purposes. Essentially, they act as both eyes and sentries for the driver and passengers of the off-road SUV.
The AI:TRAIL revealed last year has five drones instead of traditional headlights. With the ability to dock themselves on the roof, they illuminate both the path ahead and to either side with their omnidirectional freedom, and also double up as cameras.
Perched up on the highest point of the vehicle, the drones have high-resolution cameras which beam video back to the driver’s synced smartphone, which can be mounted inside the AI:TRAIL. Additionally, the drones also function as floodlights or spotlights depending on the use-case scenario.
The drones have the ability to fly ahead of the vehicle or hover as traditional flying drones. Supposedly equipped with bladeless flying technology, they can fly autonomously above and around the car to illuminate a path much further ahead than normal and also an area on either side.
It is important to note that the drones haven’t been shown flying yet, but instead, have just been divulged as a concept.
Is the Audi AI:TRAIL concept the future of off-roading vehicles?
The Audi AI:TRAIL Concept is a vision for the carmaker, and shows that the company wants to lead the rapidly evolving segment of cars that are controlled by Artificial Intelligence.
Interestingly, the AI in Audi AI:TRAIL stands here for Audi Intelligence. The company has four visionary use case vehicles: AI:CON, AI:RACE, AI:ME and AI:TRAIL. The common core theme among these new vehicles is that the driver is no longer at the center, but rather the passenger cabin and the passengers.
Audi has rarely, if ever, ventured out of its domain, which is luxury, performance vehicles with comfort, speed, power, and safety as priorities. Hence, the AI:TRAIL is certainly a special concept car from the luxury carmaker.