- The Activesphere EV concept was partially revealed in August last year
- This SUV concept also has ample space on the back to load cargo
- Audi said it wouldn’t produce the AR glasses itself but rely on other partners
Audi took the wraps off its upcoming electric vehicle concept, known as the Activesphere, in August last year. The German automaker is now providing additional details on the upcoming EV, revealing a luxury SUV with ample storage to function as a conventional pickup truck. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Activesphere concept is the addition of augmented reality (AR) glasses to aid the automobile’s functioning.
As you can see from the image below, the Activesphere EV has a robust body with the ability to carry items on its top. It’s unclear if the production version of the Activesphere will resemble this concept, but we sure hope so.
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The rear glass of the EV has the ability to hide conveniently and provide access to the rear flatbed to load cargo as required. Unfortunately, CNBC says this feature may not make its way to a production vehicle in the foreseeable future.
Speaking to the publication, Philipp Gündert, Audi Brand Strategy, said, “We at Audi are well known for trying out new things with cars … there’s also an Audi tradition to say, ‘Never say never.’ Although there’s no concrete plans, yet.”
What about the AR Glasses?
Audi said the AR glasses would enable drivers to monitor the controls of the vehicle and other elements, such as the fuel gauge, which are usually viewed through the instrument cluster and other screens within the vehicle. The automaker said there are plenty of hand gestures built in to provide extensive control over the functioning of these AR glasses.
What this also means is that the dashboard of the Activesphere is completely vacant, enabling drivers to focus on what’s ahead of them. This is a radical new concept wherein the onboard displays are replaced with augmented reality elements, which the company calls “Audi Dimensions.”
Moreover, the driver can obtain all the necessary information about the vehicle from the AR glasses depending on where they’re looking, working in tandem with hand gestures.
In addition to working within the automobile itself, the AR glasses will reportedly function when outdoors as well, particularly to navigate or engage in sporting activities. The company clarified that it would partner with other manufacturers for the AR glasses used in the Activesphere rather than build one in-house.
Another interesting feature included with the Activesphere is a retractable steering wheel, which hides underneath when the self-driving mode is enabled. While we may not see a production version of the Activesphere anytime soon, Gündert told CNBC that the company’s Grandsphere sedan concept, which was showcased last year, will have a near identical production model.
Does AR in a car make sense?
While it’s certainly bold to replace the displays of the car with AR glasses, we’re unlikely to see manufacturers taking this step anytime soon. While the concept is certainly impressive, regulators are likely to approach any production vehicle bearing these features with a strong dose of scepticism, particularly from a safety standpoint.