Currently, companies such as Google and Tesla are developing technology, which will allow cars to drive themselves. What was once speculated to be an invention of the distant future is now only just 2 years away. Self-driving cars have 360 degree sensors, which can sense all other cars, buildings, objects, and the like meaning autonomous automobile technology is much attentive to driving situations around than people. This will essentially make our roads and highways much more safe and efficient. Sounds wonderful, right? Wrong. This new technology, as amazing as it is, will come at a massive cost; the driving culture.
Auto manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are all driving brands: they build cars for the driving experience. Conversely, companies such as Toyota and Honda, known as mobility brands, build cars that are suitable for the customer who simply needs a car to get from point A to point B.
Mobility optimization won’t be a problem for Toyota, Honda or Hyundai. No one buys a Mobility brand today for the looks alone, and since, in the coming Autonomous World, no expects them to perform, they can evolve in shape, size and layout to conform with market demands without Brand Tension. The latter is the trap Driving brands must avoid if they want their brands retain any meaning at all. – Alex Roy
Driving brands will become obsolete as autonomous technology is installed. No matter how lavish the interior environment, most consumers won’t spend the extra money for a car they can’t drive.
Technology companies hoping to make autonomous automobile technology are edging their way into the driving world and will transform our roads so that driving culture becomes obsolete. Essentially, autonomous cars will become the only option, either by consumer demand or government regulation. However, individuals who oppose this change will still exist.
Gripping the wheel and putting the pedal to the metal is exhilarating. I’m not suggesting that speeding is the only way to get a thrill: quickly getting up to speed from a stop and feeling that torque run through you, connecting you to the car, is just as thrilling as hitting top speeds.
Beyond the value of the connection between car and driver, getting your driver’s license is a “rite of passage” into a new era in your life. Being able to go wherever, whenever without having to wait on someone else provides an immense sense of freedom. Having one hand on the steering wheel, arm crooked out the window on a cool summer night is such an amazing experience that may never be felt by our children’s generation, or even ours.
In an effort to gain perspective on the value of driving culture versus the convenience of autonomous automotive technology, I interviewed my mother and sister to shed some light on what driving means to them.
Keeping the car’s foundation while allowing the autonomous feature to be turned off completely to promote the driving culture will satisfy all parties. Need to send a text while driving? Simple: turn on the autonomous feature, send the text, and get back to driving. Feeling tired? Have the car drive you. Had a few drinks? Installing a Breathalyzer into the vehicle can prevent you from taking control of the car on your journey back home. This will protect you from the three D’s of driving: distracted, drowsy and drunk driving. While these three D’s are negative consequences of driving and thus advocate for the autonomous cars, cars today have features that reduce the repercussions of these consequences. For example, X, Y, and Z. Introducing the autonomous car to remedy these three mistakes is not a solution to the problem, rather, this new technology punishes those who do not succumb to the three D’s of driving.