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Autonomous Technologies Coming to Market Faster Than Expected

But regulations, insurance issues could stall tech push, industry leaders warn.

by on Sep.02, 2015

The new 2016 BMW 7-Series will be capable of driving on its own for short periods of time..

“Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel,” Doors frontman Jim Morrison sang in Roadhouse Blues. But that traditionally healthy line of advice soon may no longer be necessary.

With the debut of the 2016 BMW 750i, motorists will be able to take their hands off the wheel for as long as 15 seconds at a time, the car’s semi-autonomous technologies temporarily taking over driving duties. And a year from now, Cadillac is promising to go a step further. The Detroit maker’s new Super Cruise system will allow drivers to cruise well-marked freeways for an extended period of time hands-free. Or so Caddy can only hope.

Global Insight!

Some automakers are promising to go even further, bringing fully autonomous vehicles to the road within the next decade. But it’s far from certain they can pull it off. It’s not necessarily the technical issues that could derail the push, but regulatory and insurance hurdles, industry leaders warn. (more…)

Technology is No Longer Key for Luxury Brands

Mainstream brands quick to copy, warns Mercedes’ U.S. CEO.

by on Jan.18, 2010

The tristar logo grabs attention, but E-Class technology is less important among brands.

Why is one car worth $15,000 and another $150,000?

Traditionally, the differentiators included such luxury touches as leather, chrome and, of course, more powerful engines.  But these days, technology has become a hallmark of high-line brands.

Manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz have counted on costly systems, such as the automated collision avoidance system on the new E-Class, to draw affluent customers in and justify premium prices.  But the technology gap is closing.

When the first anti-lock brake systems debuted, in the late 1980s, they carried a price tag of close to $2,000, and it took a decade for the technology to migrate into the mainstream.  While the latest and greatest new systems may be equally expensive, at least initially, the prices quickly fall, these days, and adoption by mass-market brands can begin in as little as a year.

Tech Talk!

“You used to be able to create for yourself a niche for at least a few years,” Ernst Lieb, CEO of Mercedes-Benz US, told during an interview.  “Now, it’s down to a matter of months.”