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Audi’s Futuristic New Electric SUV Concept Uses Flying Drones for Headlights

With four beyond-chunky tires holding up its glass-lined passenger bubble, the AI:Trail Quattro looks more suited to the surface of a far-off planet than a highway.

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

Concept vehicles tend to fall into two categories: restrained designs that might actually make it to the road in the near future and outlandish prototypes that feel like the product of a futuristic fever dream. Audi’s latest, the AI:Trail Quattro, distinctly falls into the latter camp.

First teased last month, the electric SUV just debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show and looks like a dune buggy from the 22nd century. What it really is, though, is Audi’s attempt to push its E-Tron SUV to the absolute max—and then some. While it may not have the heart-stopping specs we’ve seen from recent all-electric concepts, its off-road potential more than compensates.

The first thing you’ll notice is the vehicle’s wild design. With four beyond-chunky tires holding up the AI:Trail Quattro’s silver and glass-lined passenger bubble, the SUV looks more suited to combing the surface of the moon than driving a highway on Earth. This all serves a purpose, of course, as the vehicle’s massive 33.5-inch tires and bouncy suspension give it over 13.4 inches of ground clearance and the ability to drive through a foot-and-a-half of water. Oddly, the SUV lacks built-in headlights, but that’s only because a pack of five drones, housed in roof-mounted cradles when not in use, will fly ahead of the vehicle, lighting the way.

Static photoColor: Solar sky

Flying drones light the way for the Audi AI:Trail Quattro.  Audi

Suicide doors open up to reveal the inside of the AI:Trai Quattro, which packs all the luxury and comfort of your average high-end SUV. The front row features two shell seats, while the rear two were designed to be like hammocks. But where the interior really diverges from its luxe counterparts is in the stripped-down dash, which features only a yoke-style steering wheel, a stream-lined screen and smartphone holder.

The AI:Trail Quattro is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, which is good for a range of 250-310 miles—though that figure can drop down to 150 depending on how treacherous the terrain is. While Audi didn’t release a horsepower figure for the vehicle, it produces 740 lb-ft of torque and can reach a modest top speed of 81 mph. Of course, who needs speed when you have the sands of Tatooine to negotiate?

At present, there are no plans for the AI:Trail Quattro to be anything more than a concept. But its future may still be bright: After all, there has to be a sci-fi movie or three that could make use of a vehicle with a fleet of luminous drones at its command.

Check out more photos of the AI:Trail Quattro below:

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

The Audi Ai:Trail Quattro concept

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