Talk about a culture clash. A nimble, forward-thinking technology giant battles an industry with more than 100 years of driver legacy. It’s Google versus the auto industry at large, and the fight is over the person behind the wheel.
Google recently suggested that drivers don’t matter anymore with its latest self-driving prototype vehicle. Minus a steering wheel, brake and gas pedals, the prototype supports Google’s vision of taking away human physical control of an autonomous vehicle.
Having spent decades touting the thrill of driving as core to their promotional strategies, automakers have a vested interest in the driving experience. Now they are confronted with the pressures of having to accelerate their autonomous vehicle programs in response to Google’s well-capitalized efforts to win what is effectively a race to build the software and services platform that operates driverless cars.
Automakers are not pleased over having to divert massive resources into an area that largely runs counter to how they have promoted their products for generations. The excitement of aggressive cornering and acceleration has been featured in just about every automotive TV ad. So how exactly do you successfully promote a car that you can’t control even if you wanted to?
We believe the answer is to have it both ways. California’s autonomous vehicle legislation specifically requires that drivers have the ability to manually take over the vehicle should the need arise, and Google has already stated that they would comply. With this requirement, drivers would have the choice of manual or autonomous driving modes depending on traffic type and driving conditions.
This will not ease tensions between Google and the auto companies any time soon. Given the rapid development and deployment of connected tech in support of a safer, more efficient driving experience, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Source: Google’s vision of driverless future at odds with automakers – The Detroit News: