Land Rover boss resolute about role of autonomous motoring
Luxury British car giant Land Rover may have just finished developing a remote control Range Rover; however, the company's R&D chief, Wolfgang Epple, has some very definite views about the role of the self-drive car. He is not very enthusiastic, to say the least, and says that while he is in charge the company will not manufacture a fully-autonomous vehicle.
Mr Epple may be alone in his thinking, as the race by rivals BMW, Mercedes, and Audi to be the first in this sector hots-up. Mr Epple explained: "We don't consider consumers cargo. We don't want to build a robot that delivers the cargo from A to B." He added: "People want to use the emotional side of the brain and autonomous driving does not generate that experience."
The way ahead for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), according to its outspoken boss, is to produce autonomous systems that ultimately help drivers rather than replace them. The company's new remote control system, for example, enables a driver to get out of the vehicle and manoeuvre through a tricky situation with his or her smartphone, but the driver is still completely in charge.
Mr Epple doesn't agree with a recent statement by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, that humans will eventually be banned from driving. Mr Epple thinks there will always be an emotional side to driving and that the sheer joy of being in control of a luxury car will be hard to resist for future generations.