Will Driving Become a Luxury with Autonomous Cars

Will autonomous cars destroy car culture? Autocar has an interesting account of the recent Connected Cars summit where Gus Park, managing director of motor insurance at Direct Line made rather telling statement.

“Driving could become ‘a luxury pursuit’ in an era of autonomous vehicles” Park said. It’s a scary thought for enthusiasts but if insurance companies have their way it could be a reality. Park suggested that he expected driving your own car could be too expensive as a result of associated insurance premiums required in a world of autonomous vehicles.

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While we see that future to be pretty far off in the distance, there no question that autonomous driving will change car culture in ways we can’t imagine. Thankfully based on what BMW and MINI executives have told us, they firmly believe driving pleasure to be a core part of both brands.

Ian Robertson, Head of Sales and Marketing for BMW went in record and said “BMWs will always have a steering wheel. There will be times when you’d rather a car drove itself, such as in traffic, but there will also be times when you want to experience the thrill of driving yourself, and we intend to always offer that option.”

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  • SockRolid

    Eventually, manually-driven cars could become illegal on public roads. But that wouldn’t kill manually-driven cars entirely. People still ride horses too.

    I think it’s clear that the automobile industry and most automobile-related business models will change forever. I would never buy an autonomous car. I’d rather use them as an on-demand service. Because once you remove the act of driving from my transportation experience, I feel no emotional attachment to a vehicle. I’m just a passenger. Get me there with minimal discomfort and a good safety level, and I’ll work or communicate or consume entertainment on the way. I won’t buy the vehicle. I’ll only pay for the service. And I suspect most other people would feel that way as well.

    So the manually-driven car industry will probably become like the horse industry, such as it is. Entirely for spectator events or private enjoyment on private land. Not for the daily commute or vacation travel. There would be cars for high-end racing, cars for driving only on private roads or tracks (which would require substantial land ownership), and collector cars that might be stored in private collections or museums. I think this is inevitable.