Everywhere you look these days it’s as if every automaker is busy at work developing autonomous technologies, at least to an extent. Not Aston Martin. The iconic English brand is currently in something of a product renaissance, specifically the all-new DB11, the insane Vulcan and upcoming Valkyrie hypercar, as well as its just announced racing-inspired AMR brand. We were fortunate to speak with Vice President and Chief Special Operation Officer David King at Geneva last week, and were reminded once again why we love Aston Martin.
“Our customers want more track-focused cars, specifically Porsche 911 GT3 competitors, and therefore we will offer our cars with two levels of potency: Heavily re-engineered AMR Pro cars, such as the Vantage AMR Pro, and the first tier AMR, like the Rapide AMR.” Knowing this, we asked King if Aston Martin is working on new technologies that don’t necessarily involve performance, such as self-driving tech. “No,” came the immediate reply with a smile. “We are not working in-house on autonomous technology. This doesn’t mean that one day perhaps we’ll license someone else’s technology. But, for me, Aston Martin is about driving passion and performance, and that’s what we’re focused on right now,” King explained.
Another very promising sign of Aston Martin’s revival of sorts was the arrival of Dr. Andy Palmer as CEO. After a very successful career at Nissan, Palmer is certainly the right man for this job. “He asks how we can share Aston Martin racing with a wider audience. He wants engineers to think like entrepreneurs, and gives more freedom to spend on exotic materials,” stated King. We also took a stab and asked King about the future of the naturally aspirated engine Aston Martin is currently phasing out. “The naturally aspirated engine is limited by how far you can rev it to make power.”
Along with increasing global emission standards, it’s fair to say the NA engine, even for Aston Martin, is about to retire, replaced not only by turbocharging, but also hybrids and electrics. So rest assured. We won’t be seeing self-driving technology coming from these guys anytime soon, and if we read King correctly, he’s in absolutely no rush to even buy the tech from elsewhere.