Audi grandsphere concept removes steering wheel, pedals, displays

An automobile with an automated driving mode that turns the vehicle into a "spacious sphere of experience." That's what Audi envisioned for their grandsphere concept shown this week at IAA 2021. With Level 4 automated driving in this concept car, the interior removes displays, pedals, and the steering wheel from the ride. This vehicle turns itself into a lounge while it transports you from one place to another.

This new concept vehicle is the second of three in the Audi "sphere" collection. The first was shown in August of 2021 – that was the Audi skysphere concept. That vehicle had a variable wheelbase that allowed it to transform from an automatically driving GT into a self-driving sports car. The third vehicle in the set will appear in 2022 – that'll be the Audi urbansphere. Today we're looking at the Audi grandsphere.

The Audi grandsphere works with automatically opening doors and "individually staged displays and ambient light" courtesy of the vehicle's "pathway identification" system. This vehicle can detect passengers before they reach the door. The vehicle remembers each individual passenger's climate control settings, seat adjustment preferences, and recently used services – both in and out of the vehicle, if the user has other devices synced to the grandsphere.*

*Audi gives the example of a passenger watching a video on a tablet. Once they enter the vehicle, the video they were watching back at home or in the office will automatically resume on a display surface inside the concept vehicle. The same could be true of news services and articles.

This vehicle has a transparent ceiling, massive glass surfaces and windows, wood and wool surfaces, synthetic textile fabrics and metal. Displays "take the form of projections on the wooden surfaces under the windshield. Projection surfaces can be used in automated driving mode as "CinemaScope screens" for video conferencing and entertainment.

This concept vehicle has a 3.19 m (10.5 ft.) wheelbase and an overall set of measurements at 5.35 m (17.6 ft.) long, 2 m (6.6 ft.) wide, and 1.39 m (4.6 ft.) high. In addition to automated functionality, this vehicle has eye tracking, voice control, gesture control, handwritten input, and touch surfaces. VR glasses are included in the armrests on the left and right doors for holoride action.

Above you'll find more information about the many features included in this concept ride.

Audi says this new grandsphere concept is no longer just an automobile, it transforms into an "experience device." Given what Audi's created for concept vehicles in the past, we're feeling confident this isn't all just a pipe dream. It'll all be here before we know it!