Though he didn't say it never will.
As autonomous technology advances, questions are arising regarding what’s going to happen to our favorite sports cars, such as the Chevrolet Corvette. Porsche, for example, has hinted at a possible Mark Webber self-driving mode specifically for the track. But what about America’s sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette? What will happen to it in a self-driving era? GM Authority caught up with Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter at LA last month and discussed this very subject.
“The whole purpose of the Corvette is to enjoy driving it,” said Juechter. “So, (Corvette) will probably be the last to adopt the autonomous technologies. In fact, we don’t even have adaptive cruise on the car… we try to lean down the content to just what’s necessary for driving, and we expect the person driving it to want to drive it. So between that, and adding all of the additional content (for adaptive cruise)… it requires the sensors to be in front end, which can block airflow. We don’t have a lot of spare airflow, so all of these choices come down to a balance of attributes across the whole car.” But what about future Corvette generations, specifically the upcoming C8?
“There could someday be use for some of these autonomous features,” Juechter continued. “One of my favorite is a ‘track learn’… a setting where you could dial an assistance, like a driving instructor in the passenger seat. If you’re driving off the line, they’ll reach over to the wheel and tug you back… I can imagine using some of these features as a track learn. Everything from giving you a nudge when you’re not in the right place, to a hands-off, show-me-the-line as fast as the car will go. And you just ride and watch… and slowly take off the training wheels… I can imagine an adaptation of that kind of technology.” Yep, Juechter and his counterparts at Porsche are thinking along similar lines.
However, Juechter reiterated that Chevrolet will not be the first to market that technology. Mainstream models will convert to autonomous tech first, and only then will GM evaluate the Corvette’s (possible) self-driving future.