Ford will continue to build driver’s cars despite the onslaught of autonomous driving technology, according to the company’s futurologist, Sheryl Connelly.
“Autonomous is a spectrum of technologies with assisted driving, like adaptive cruise control, at one end and full hands-off driving at the other,” said Connelly. “We remain committed in future to building enthusiast’s cars. There are some models where autonomous makes sense and others where it does not.”
Ford’s research shows a wide geographical variation in enthusiasm for self-driving technology. India and China lead the way, with 84% of respondents in India and 78% in China answering positively about it in a survey. Congestion and the difficulty of learning to drive are cited as reasons.
The US is less positive, with 40%. The UK is lower still, at 30%, which echoes research by Autocar sister title What Car?.
The future of autonomous driving technology may lie in a quite different direction, too — as a transport lifeline for teenagers and the older generation.
Full hands-off self-driving could allow teens to move around cities and remote rural areas safely as an alternative to public transport.
“Parents might prefer to have their teens in a self-driving car than in an Uber being driven by a stranger,” said Connelly.
Some scientists believe the first person to live to 150 years old has already been born. “Autonomous vehicles could be a wonderful solution for an ageing population. Today, people retire by 65 years. That might be only a third of their life in the future. How are they going to get around?”