Even though this might look like the Audi E-Tron Sportback concept from Shanghai, the Elaine is actually a lot more advanced, bringing level 4 autonomous talents to Frankfurt.
Like the E-Tron Sportback, the identically-sized Elaine concept also features Matrix LED units both front and rear, while animated LED fields greet passengers individually when they step inside the car.
While there are plenty of similarities, the differences really do stand out. For example, the more advanced zFAS controller installed in the rear. This new-gen processor has more power and refined sensors, allowing the Audi Elaine to operate as a highway pilot over long distances.
The Highway Pilot is basically a more advanced Traffic Jam Pilot, allowing the concept to change lanes autonomously without any involvement from the person sitting behind the wheel. Of course, all the other usual driver assistance systems are on board, including pre sense safety technologies and the predictive efficiency assistant.
Other features include a faster internet connection, the ability to locate unmarked parking spaces on the side of the road and navigate handover zones, all while becoming an IoT device (Internet of Things), integrating itself "within the world of its user," as Audi puts it.
In order to do all those things, the Elaine relies on PIA, the personal intelligent assistant, which is basically the car's AI system, responding to voice imputs and using tailored algorithms to communicate autonomously and adaptively with the user. PIA can also get to know you by observing your behavior, applying machine learning methods to adapt the car's functions to your specific needs and likes (sat-nav, music, desired connected services, climate control, preferred parking spots etc).
Another cool piece of technology found on the Elaine concept is the Audi Fit Driver, where a wearable device on the driver's wrist provides the car with data such as vital signs, body temperature and heart rate. If Audi Fit Driver detects signs of fatigue, for example, the vehicle can then adapt and help you relax. It will even have you do breathing exercises, while also engaging energizing seat massages, relaxing music, special climate functions and so on.
Powering the Audi Elaine are three electric motors, combining for 370 kW (496 HP), while offering a range of 500 km (311 miles). It will also accelerate from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.5 seconds. All are identical numbers to those of the E-Tron Sportback, which unlike the Elaine, is already headed for production.
* Frankfurt Motor Show photos added to gallery