Porsche, my friend, my pal, my comrade in this war against the autonomous machines, I knew there was a reason I named my cat after you. You’re one of the good ones. While other automakers dream of the day there is no longer a driver’s seat, you want to keep that steering wheel as long as possible.
While almost all other carmakers, ride-hailing services, tech startups, kids with too much time on their hands and so on continue to develop technology that can make cars drive on their own, Porsche’s going to stick to the “human driving” stuff until it just can’t make that work anymore. From a statement by Porsche executive Lutz Meschke:
Driving yourself will hopefully remain the most important thing at Porsche for a very long time. The Porsche sports car will be one of the last automobiles with a steering wheel. But autonomous driving will dramatically change the efficiency of using vehicles. We therefore have to assume that we will have to create potential for growth alongside the vehicle in the era of autonomous driving.
Instead of turning its cars into robot taxis, Porsche will use autonomous tech in new cars to help drivers save time and frustration: traffic-jam assistance for the times when not even the biggest of car lovers want to be behind the wheel, and self-parking modes for when you’re running late to that all-important thing you didn’t give yourself enough time to get to. (Be better, people.)
Porsche’s stance on human driving is kind of like Mazda’s on the internal-combustion engine: against nearly every other company it competes with. Just like Mazda thinks electric vehicles aren’t all that green, Porsche wants to keep its cars drivable by something other than the machine brains that’ll eventually take over the world anyway. If you like to drive cars, that’s refreshing!
In the midst of nearly every other automaker ever saying self-driving cars without wheels or pedals are “just [x amount of] years away”—despite not being able to navigate things like your local taco truck—it’s comforting to be reminded that not every car company is on board.
The future is not all bleak and terrible, although it’ll probably still end up like a Terminator movie, or at the very least The Road.