At this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi has introduced the Elaine concept car, an evolution of the e-tron Sportback concept that was presented at the 2017 Auto Shanghai show.

Visually, the SUV concept retains the familiar fastback design as before, with dimensions measuring 4,900 mm long, 1,980 mm wide, 1,530 mm tall and 2,930 mm wheelbase. Audi says this places it in a segment (C) that is close to the A7.

Still present are the car’s lighting technologies, with Matrix LED units at the front accompanied by smaller Digital Matrix projectors. The latter provides a “dynamic channel of communication with the surroundings,” as Audi puts it, projecting indicators or informing surrounding humans that the car is driving autonomously.

More LEDs can be found in the tail lamps, while animated LED fields are used to welcome passengers individually when they enter or exit the vehicle. Both the front and rear Audi logos are also illuminated for good measure.

As mentioned earlier, Elaine is capable of autonomous driving, if those Audi Intelligence (AI) stickers don’t tell you already. Powered by an advanced zFAS controller installed in the rear, Audi says there’s enough processing oomph to work with the car’s numerous sensors, offering up to Level 4 autonomous driving, one level higher than on the latest A8.

Among the features include highway pilot, an extension of the traffic jam pilot found in the A8. Here, it allows piloted driving at speeds from 60 to 130 km/h, which is the maximum legal speed in most countries.

There’s more too, as Elaine can initiate, perform and complete lane changes, and return to its original lane after. This is all done autonomously without any driver involvement, although if you want to intervene, you can do so at any time.

The autonomous driving systems also continue to support the driver after leaving the highway and multilane urban freeways behind. Drivers will therefore have more time to spend on other things while aboard the vehicle as they are driven to their destination autonomously.

For further convenience, cars within designated Audi AI Zones can offer a range of driverless mobility options. For instance, after parking in an assigned handover area, the car can be directed to park itself in a parking garage, and be called back when needed via a smartphone app.

Audi’s personal intelligent assistant (PIA) meanwhile, analyses data from the car, driver and live traffic reports to adapt the car’s functions to the behaviour and needs of the driver. Car-to-X technology ensures real-time communication between car and infrastructure, allowing the vehicle to “see” further up ahead.

To get to know you even better, Elaine also comes with Audi’s Fit Driver monitoring system, which collects health-related data via a wearable device. If the system notices you are stressed, it will adapt the car’s other system accordingly, displaying bio-feedback in certain situations.

The Elaine is meant to preview a future production vehicle, slated for release in 2019 as is the case with the e-tron Sportback. This is part of the carmaker’s EV strategy for 2020, and Audi says the electric powertrain here is the configuration that will go into its future EVs.

Here, the setup features one electric motor on the front axle, and two on the rear to give Elaine all-wheel drive. These motors provide a total system output of 435 hp (320 kW) and up to 503 hp (370 kW) in boost mode. Power is supplied via a 95 kWh battery, which is claimed to offer up to 500 km of range (NEDC).

The battery can be charged with a wired fast charging function at 150 kW or wireless charging via the Audi Wireless Charging system. Though it may appear to be a big SUV, Elaine will complete the 0-100 km/h sprint in just 4.5 seconds.