Just a day after Shanghai news, the German newspaper website Süddeutsche Zeitung has revealed a sketch attributed to Audi that appears to hint the Audi Artemis project also occasionally referred to loosely as “Landjet” that promises to be groundbreaking in its approach to autonomous electromobility, a complete rethink on the automobile.
Since a lot of rumors have been circulating on Project Artemis, let’s focus on the ones that came from this latest story. Given they have a never-seen sketch from the Audi design team, we’re guessing this piece is backed by some pretty solid intel. Since it’s in German, here’s a summary.
Billed as an “autonomous A8 successor”, the story says it is expected to go on sale by 2025… at least in Germany where autonomy laws are different and Audi tends to be quicker to launch new models given its domestic manufacturer status.
As you can see from the drawing, Artemis has a bit of a Sportback / Avant roofline, less traditional and no doubt focused on comfort given the freedoms an electric drivetrain car affords designers. Audi Design Team boss Marc Lichte suggests that while most modern executive cars are more business class, Artemis’ “First class with a clear view is a different experience.”
Think long cabin with short overhangs, much moreso than would be available in an internal combustion engine platform. Traditional proportions then also change, without the need for long hoods housing long luxurious V-configured and inline engines with banks of cylinders.
Audi is hoping to polarize less with its A8 successor, making it revolutionary enough but still maintaining some familiarity… particularly with Sportback and Avant models based on this drawing. Where things will become more extreme, and also evident in this sketch, is a completely open and different interior. Throw in the first class experience and it’s not hard to imagine where the “landjet” project name stems from. It is a D-segment luxury car for long-haul journeys by road.
Doors on the side open in opposite directions, barn door style in a way that almost harkens oppulent American cars of the 1960s.
There’s nothing retro about it though. Lichte expands on that interior by saying, “Autonomous driving opens up a completely new application. This has major consequences for what a car looks like and what the passengers can do in it. The car becomes a living space: the driver’s seat can become a living space with a backrest incline of 50 degrees rest position can be covered while driving in such a way that you can put your feet up at the same time.”
The story suggests Audi plans Level 4 autonomy, which is effectively uninterrupted autonomous cruising and full autonomous in controlled environments like a parking garage by our count. The EU is preparing for completely hands free driving on the highway, that this car and a mentioned VW counterpart dubbed “Trinity” will be compatible with.
“At level 4 on the autobahn, I no longer need to operate the car as I do today,” Lichte stated in the story. “As a result, I no longer have to be able to reach the steering wheel and the touchscreens with my hans all the time.