Driving could become 'a luxury pursuit' in an era of autonomous vehicles, according to Gus Park, managing director of motor insurance at Direct Line.
Talking at the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders' (SMMT) Connected Cars summit, Park suggested that he expected getting behind the wheel and taking control of your car to be marginalised as a result of associated costs, including the insurance premiums required to do so in a society dominated by autonomous vehicles.
“If you drive a car into an autonomous environment and take the wheel, making it a mixed environment, it gets pretty complicated,” he said. “With the future so unclear, it's hard to make predictions, but I can imagine driving becoming an increasingly luxury pursuit.”
Park was joined by Dr George Gillespie, CEO of Horuba MIRA and Dr Ian Robertson, head of sales and marketing for BMW, in suggesting that the onset of fully autonomous cars would not lead to end of driving for enthusiasts, however.
Gillespie said: “Maybe I’m not looking far enough ahead, but I can’t see a time when driving is banned. I can see a time in ten years or so when there are controlled environments where only autonomous cars can go - in cities or special zones set up for it, for instance - but I can’t see there being a blanket ban.”
Robertson added: “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.”