Audi’s Skysphere concept grows from sporty roadster to autonomous grand tourer

Audi skysphere concept PB21 HERO

A futuristic show car with classical proportions, the Skysphere concept is a reflection of Audi’s commitment to electric and autonomous mobility 

Audi has unveiled the first of three new concept cars that showcase its future design direction, underscore its commitment to go all-electric by next decade, and highlight its plans to make autonomous production cars in the next three years. The Skysphere is two cars in one: a level 4 autonomous grand tourer and a sporty, driver-focused roadster that becomes 250 millimeters shorter with the touch of a button.

The Skysphere concept was created completely digitally at Audi’s new design studio in Malibu, California. Unlike the former full-service studio in Santa Monica that shuttered in 2016, the new space is equipped only with computers, VR equipment, and a visualisation room. Last year Gael Buzyn, head of the Malibu studio, was asked by his boss Marc Lichte to develop a show car that had level 4 autonomy at the center. Other than that, there were no rules. “The design brief was basically a blank check,” Buzyn tells us. “We were free to express our vision of what level 4 could be in the future.”

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