Relax, BMWs Will Always Have Steering Wheels

Even in the age of autonomous cars.

The technology is moving ahead faster than the headlines can often keep up. Self-driving cars will certainly be a reality in the next decade or so, and that major technological advancement will force us to rethink what makes a car a car. One example? The steering wheel. Will autonomous cars even require one? BMW’s future autonomous cars at least will. CarAdvice spoke to BMW board member Ian Robertson at the 8 Series Concept launch in Italy, where he confirmed the German automaker will always be thinking of the driver.

“We still have an excitement for driving,” Robertson stated, which has already been verified by last year’s radical Vision Next 100 Concept. It featured an interior where the steering wheel and center console retract and the headrests move to one side to create a more relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Translation: take a nap while the car does all of the driving. But the key thing to remember is that, yes, there’s still a steering wheel here, unlike Volkswagen Group’s Sedric Concept, which is really more like a pod. A fully autonomous BMW will be here soon, but owners will have the capability to simply turn this function on or off whenever they wish (or when a certain city or state requires it).

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