Everyone should listen.
In case you've just emerged from a time capsule, Volkswagen has opted for an aggressive and expensive plan to electrify its many brands. The VW ID.4, Porsche Taycan, and Audi e-tron are only the beginning. The German automaker very much wants to overtake Tesla as the world's top-seller of EVs in the coming few years. It'll probably achieve that goal as Tesla has awoken a sleeping giant. But there's another fast-emerging technology no one should ignore.
Autonomous driving is quickly becoming a reality with currently up and running driver-assist systems like GM's Super Cruise, Ford's BlueCruise, and Tesla's still controversial Autopilot and Full Self-Driving. None of these systems are Level 5, the highest rating possible where zero human involvement is necessary.
All of those systems are rated at Level 2, meaning drivers must still remain attentive and ready to assume control of the vehicle immediately. But what's the fun in self-driving cars for those who love to drive? Sure, there are many benefits to being able to relax while behind the wheel and not fear for your safety, but driving can often be fun. VW CEO Ralf Brandstatter is keenly aware of this.
"Everybody loves to steer cars, to have fun, but sometimes it's boring," he said to Autocar. Let's face it: he's absolutely right. Autonomy can help eliminate that boredom.
"In the future, you can decide what you want to do with the additional quality time we are giving our customers." The quality time he's referring to is an endless list of things, such as literally being able to take a nap behind the wheel when stuck in a traffic jam. Too many commuters feel like they're wasting their lives in morning and evening rush hour traffic.
Autonomous technology can help change that and make life happier and less stressful. It's too soon to know for certain whether Level 5 autonomy will become the new standard but, at the very least, the benefits of lower levels will soon be realized.