The third largest luxury automaker has vowed not to abandon traditional elements such as the steering wheel or pedals even though it’s currently mulling for a top position in the autonomous car development race.
The automaker, a unit of German company Daimler AG, has a vision contrary to the one developed by Google Inc. for example, with the giant Us technology company seeing transportation in the near future using only completely automated transport pods. Mercedes wants people to know they can still handle the steering wheel if they want – with the car taking care of the boring tasks: navigating stop-and-go traffic, long-haul highway travel and parking.
“We specifically do not want to automate the fun out of driving,” Daimler Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said in a speech at the University of Oxford. “At Mercedes, the steering wheel, throttle and brake pedals will remain standard equipment.”
The comments also underline the huge pressure traditional automakers face, as tension rises between them and technology companies, which seek to swiftly implement the future of driverless vehicles. Particularly when it comes to high-end, premium carmakers, features such as the automated driving option are key to building a reputation of innovative company, but they also need to tread carefully – they don’t want to take hands-on performance out of the equation.