THE ESSENCE OF DRIVING WILL SURVIVE.
DateTUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2019 AT 11:45AM
By Peter M. DeLorenzo
Detroit. As the global auto industry goes head-first into electrification and autonomous vehicle development, the concern has been growing among enthusiasts and people who just like the act of driving as in, what’s in it for us?
We are being inundated with press release after press release regurgitating the details about the latest autonomous development, and I have to admit that it’s leaving me stone cold. Yes, well off into the future I can see limited usage for AVs, but for most people who grew up with the desire to drive, and the accumulated experiences and adventures – not to mention the individual freedom of mobility – that came from hitting the road, blind fealty to the notion of AVs is about as compelling as leftover oatmeal.
Yes, of course, I appreciate the technology, and I can see that handing over the control of a vehicle in certain situations – abominable traffic congestion, chaotic city driving, I-80 in Nebraska, etc. – might be the most expedient course of action. But just checking out and becoming totally removed from the act of driving? I’m not interested, and I am quite certain that there are plenty of people out there who feel the same way.
So, I am encouraged by the news coming from BMW this week, because this company is recognizing the fact that there will be plenty of situations in the future where people will want to experience the act of driving for themselves, and it intends on building vehicles that will accommodate that notion.
BMW announced that in the future, its drivers will be able to choose whether they wish to be driven or do the driving themselves. According to BMW PR minions: “With the BMW Vision M NEXT, the BMW Group is revealing its take on how driving pleasure might look in future for those who enjoy taking the wheel themselves. It offers a foretaste of the BMW M brand’s electrified future by placing the focus squarely on the actively engaged driver. Intelligent technologies on board provide comprehensive yet carefully targeted assistance to turn them into the ultimate driver.”