An endangered species?
Google will soon begin rolling out the first of 100 self-driving microcars, most of which will have some familiar features missing, namely such traditional necessities as a steering wheel, brake and gas pedal. And while the Google vehicles will just be prototypes designed to test the tech firm’s autonomous driving technology, a survey of industry experts anticipates that the basic design could soon become the norm, rather than the exception.
The majority of the 200 respondents surveyed for this month’s Intelligent Vehicles Symposium, or IVS, anticipate vehicles being mass produced by 2035 won’t have steering wheel, gas or brake pedals, even rearview mirrors or horns.
That’s in line with a separate study by Navigant Research that predicted about 95 million autonomous vehicles a year will be sold by 2035.
That figure is “reasonable to me,” said Alberto Broggi, a professor at the University of Parma, in Italy, a leading researcher on autonomous vehicles, and a key participant in the IVS conference — which was sponsored by the IEEE. But he questions whether all of those vehicles will be fully autonomous or still allow motorists to take control if they want – or need – to.