Audi's Activesphere Previews the Autonomous Allroad of the Future

Ingolstadt is crafting a vision of the future for the overlanding crowd.

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We’re all familiar with the concept of “spheres,” right? There’s one in the sky, one that’s grand and another for urbanites. Experts are finding evidence of new spheres every day, and Audi wants to make an autonomous, electric vehicle for each one. Hence the Activesphere concept, which the automaker previewed on Friday.

The Grandsphere was a luxobarge, the Urbansphere was basically a minivan and the Skysphere was a sporty cruiser that changed the length of its wheelbase depending on whether a human was driving it. The purpose of the Activesphere is sort of implicit in its name; it is designed to go where those others can’t, off road. With tons of ground clearance and chunky tires, this is an Allroad for a new generation, with a less-functional greenhouse.


Typically manufacturers tease concepts maybe a few weeks before they’re fully unveiled, to drum up enthusiasm and ensure people show up for the actual reveal. Audi, however, doesn’t plan to show off the Activesphere in full until the “beginning of 2023,” which is sort of far away!

We’ve artificially brightened the lone illustration Audi has published. The silhouette can be whittled down to that of an E-Tron GT on stilts, with loads of cladding to protect the body as it traverses all terrains. But there’s likely to be a party trick we’re not yet seeing; Audi always manages to think up one for these “sphere” concepts. The Skysphere could elongate itself, and the Urbansphere was pretty much designed to do everything for you, so you could work as you’re transported. How fun.


The Activesphere, by contrast, appears to respect the joy of traveling off the beaten path — so an autonomous mode seems frankly just as unnecessary as the coupe roofline. Regardless, Audi heavily deals in the theoretical with these studies, making the Activesphere very much a Concept with a capital “C.” So don’t get too concerned about having the reins taken away from you. Well, at least for another decade or two.