Rolls-Royce isn’t like other car companies.
Turns out the idea of self-driving cars is entirely laughable to Rolls-Royce, right now that is. While the high-brow British brand will join just about every other automaker in the move to powertrain electrification, it’s not really that interested in the idea of autonomous vehicles, with CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös saying that the company will probably skip the early, partial stages of robotic driving and wait for the arrival of fully effortless autonomy.
“As you know, we are part of BMW Group, and BMW is investing big money into autonomy,” he was quoted as telling Car and Driver. “For that reason, we are able to take that technology whenever it is ripe for our customers. It’s important to understand that not just many but all of our customers do have chauffeurs, if not permanently employed then somebody they can call and say, ‘Bring me to the opera tonight,’ or ‘Drive me and my friends to the restaurant.’ That is not a problem. And we will only bring autonomy into our cars if it is truly effortless.” If you think about it, partial autonomy is relatively absurd for someone who already employs a chauffeur to handle the tedious types of driving.
“You can’t be in the ridiculous situation of having a chauffeur who is coming along for the ride and is just sitting there waiting for the end of the motorway,” said Rolls-Royce’s head of global communications, Richard Carter. Autonomy is absolutely coming, and Rolls-Royce will be there when it does, but only in the context of being well and truly luxurious. “We are truly interested in autonomous driving,” Müller-Ötvös concluded, “but at a stage where it is truly effortless. It doesn’t make sense as some in-between solution. Our customers would not have the patience for that.”