The Audi Grandsphere Concept is the company’s vision for a self-driving luxury future

Audi hasn’t released anything like a fully self-driving car yet, but the GrandSphere concept plays with the idea of ​​how we interact with vehicles when the driver isn’t required to drive. Like the recently unveiled Audi SkySphere concept, which envisioned a sports car in which driving is optional, the GrandSphere concept envisions a luxury car where the driver can simply ride.

And while Audi’s engineers haven’t actually gotten to drive the Grandsphere yet, automotive interior designers are playing with the possibility.

Usually, in big, spacious luxury cars, the back seat is where you really want to be. They are seats that recline like a first class airline cabin, and this is where you can have access to a beverage cooler and glasses for refreshments. The front seats are nice too, but not as much fun, because that’s where serious driving business gets in the way.

But there’s no need to be happy to take a back seat in the grandsphere. The steering wheel and pedals move into the dashboard and floor at the time of conception car goes in Autonomous Mode.”

By turning the steering and pedals, the front seat space in the Grandsphere becomes a lounge area.

Then the front seats can slide back and recline. To allow the maximum possible space for those front seats, the rear seats are almost non-existent. In the back is just a small bench with two seats, which rarely looks luxurious.

The GrandSphere is about as tall as the Audi A8L, Audi’s current long-wheelbase luxury car, but all that space is almost entirely earmarked for the comfort of two people and, perhaps, a few other less fortunate guests. The emphasis on front seat comfort allowed the designers to give the four-door Grandsphere the sloping shape of a two-door touring car.

Those two front occupants have many entertainment options. Between the seats, where most cars have a center storage console, there’s a cooler for drinks and storage for glasses.

The rear seat in the Grandsphere is much less luxurious than the front.

The dashboard is made of light colored wood with no glass screen. In the car’s “human-powered mode”, gauges are projected onto the surface. When gauges are not required, video or reading material may be offered for the entertainment of the driver and passenger. Otherwise, pleasant abstract designs can fill the empty space on the dashboard. Meanwhile, rear seat passengers can enjoy the potted plant growing just behind the front seats.

Audi intends to build a similar electric car in the middle of this decade.

The Grandsphere is an electric car in which one electric motor drives the front wheels and the other at the rear, giving the car all-wheel-drive. Without the space needed for a large gasoline engine or transmission, the car’s cabin extends to the front of the vehicle, providing ample interior space.

In addition to the technological advances needed to provide true self-driving, a car like the Grandsphere would also require regulatory changes to make the steering wheel and pedals out of the driver’s reach.

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