Currently reading: BMW says autonomous cars mustn’t sideline drivers
Even if it's not required for the operation of the vehicle, a steering wheel will still be a part of BMWs cars

BMWs will have a steering wheel and driver controls for the foreseeable future – even when fully autonomous, according to Robert Irlinger, boss of the firm’s i division. 

Other car companies, most notably Volkswagen with its Sedric concept, view their vehicles of the future without any driver controls. However, Irlinger said BMW’s focus will always be on personal mobility and that it will continue to build cars for drivers to enjoy. 

“We are an emotional brand, so it is important to us still to give the owner the opportunity to drive their car,” said Irlinger. “By giving the driver the choice, then they can have the best of both worlds – the convenience of autonomy when they want it or the opportunity to enjoy the pleasure of driving when it suits them. 

“This is not a decision that has to impact on the comfort of the cabin or detract in any way from either side of the equation; we can have driver controls that are there when you want them and which can retract when they are not required.” 

Asked if he could ever imagine a BMW being sold without driver controls, Irlinger replied: “Maybe one day, but it is not our goal. 

“As a company, we are about personal mobility, not selling robotised taxis. Maybe there will be specific circumstances where that might change, but I cannot imagine them today.” 

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eseaton 12 December 2017

I think this is an utterly

I think this is an utterly terrible development, or attempted development, in the history of cars. Like Steinway meekly giving up on grand pianos and selling pre-programmed keyboards.

But what really gets my goat is how meekly reactive Autocar is to this stuff. It has no cause whatsoever.

Andrew 61 11 December 2017

Difficult for a brand

that has sold itself as the ultimate driving machine to then try and sell a car that replaces the driver.

The reason for buying and paying a premium is removed. All of the brands that have sold their cars as a performance/ seat of the pants driving device will lose much of their raison d'être, especially if it is accompanied by an electric motor to replace a nice straight six or vee eight.

You end up just trying to sell an expensive badge. 

ridnufc 11 December 2017

whatever

im Sure that’s what they said about front wheel drive, they will sell whatever people will buy.