Some technologies to be offered by Audi on future production cars have been revealed in new patent filings discovered by Autocar.
One of the patents is for a new Audi all-wheel drive system which will feature an electronically driven rear axle. Audi is seeking a patent for a software which allow the next-generation all-wheel drive system to use wheel sensors to detect when the wheels will break traction. This is especially important for hybrid cars as the regenerative braking system, which uses the motor as a brake while also generating electricity, can force the wheels to slow down too quickly and lose grip on slippery surfaces.
Audi’s new software will enable the regenerative braking forces to vary based on the road conditions. The system works by detecting small differences in speed between the front and rear axles, allowing it to calculate the amount of traction available between the road surface and the tires in real time. If the road is covered in snow, the braking force from the electric motor would be relatively low but would return to normal if the road was dry.
The second patent filing is for wheels with hinged flaps, which would open and cover spokes of the wheels when the car is at speed, creating a completely flat wheel cover. According to Autocar, the wheel covers improve the cars aerodynamic performance by altering the air pressure underneath the car. When the car slows down, the flaps open. The flaps are also heat sensitive, so if the brakes get too hot, they will open automatically.
Audi’s design for the next-generation all-wheel drive system will probably see production, considering the market shift towards hybrid and electric powertrains. As for the wheel-flap patent, it has already been previewed on the Audi R8 e-tron electric supercar and will probably debut on the car if plans to put it into production come into fruition.