With so many companies jumping on the driverless tech bandwagon (Google, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Delphi Automotive, BMW, Nissan Motor Co, to name a few), it’s unusual for a major automaker to denounce the same path. Wolfgang Epple, head of Jaguar’s Research and tech team, isn’t afraid to be different. At a recent press event, Automotive News reports that Epple boldly declared “We don’t consider customers cargo. We don’t want to build a robot that delivers the cargo from A to B.”
At Quoted, we’ve tackled the issue of whether human drivers could be outlawed for the sake of public safety. Elon Musk may consider a future ban on driving your own car plausible but Epple disagrees and was forthright in saying so. What makes him so sure? “The reason is that lawmakers are human beings,” Epple explained. And that seems reason enough to assume that an anti-human driver law would find opposition at its earliest stage.
An Emotional Experience
The perks of driverless cars are self-evident: all the attention we would normally turn to the vehicles in front of us, we could turn to our own wants (to finish the last chapter of that Aziz Ansari book) and needs (a giant ice coffee, please). Just imagine the productivity that could ensue inside the sleek interior of a driverless car. That is, if the swivel chairs and 4k touchscreens don’t prove too distracting. But time-saving dreams and safety benefits aside, mankind’s decision making has never been driven by logic alone.
“People want to use the emotional side of the brain and autonomous driving does not generate that experience,” said Epple. Quoted’s own Josh Waldrum can attest to the emotional attachment to driving. Even after finding he could cut costs by relying on ridesharing services, he welcomed a return to the driver’s seat, saying “there is an element to just getting in my car and driving around that’s very therapeutic.”
By taking a stance against driverless cars, Jaguar is carving out a safe space for those who worry the call of the road may be wrested from their grip. And it is key to note that in no way is Jaguar turning a blind eye to new technology. Indeed, the company has been working on tech that can monitor brainwaves along with other biometric data and, earlier this year, opened an ‘Innovation Incubator’ project to work with startups developing tech that could be adapted for the connected car market.
For at least awhile longer, the emotional experience of driving still has a place in the evolving marketplace. So tighten your grip on your steering wheel and get moving.
But first, let us know where you stand: Are you anti customer-as-cargo? Or are you anxiously awaiting an autonomous ride?