Porsche does not plan to join the rush to develop self-driving vehicles, its CEO Oliver Blume has told a German newspaper.
Porsche drivers want to drive their cars themselves, Blume said. “An iPhone belongs in your pocket, not on the road,” he added.
He said Porsche did not need to team up with any big technology companies. “Partnerships are generally not a bad idea if one’s own competencies are insufficient,” he said.
“But we are on the one hand part of a strong company and on the other hand have no plans to lead the charge in this area. We’ll leave that to others.”
Instead Porsche aims to offer hybrid versions of all its models. A plug-in hybrid version of the 911 model with a range in electric mode of 50km will go on sale in 2018, Blume said.
Porsche will invest more than US$1 billion at its plant near Stuttgart to build its first all-electric sports car, a production version of the Mission E concept unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show last year.
The car’s powerplant is expected to deliver around 450kW and have a range of 500km. Porsche aims to have it on the market by 2020 to rival the Tesla Model St, among others.
Blume’s comments point to differences between those brands who are going ahead with autonomous vehicles and those who want drivers to retain ultimate control.
The downside with self-driving vehicles, according to Bloomberg news agency, is that they obey the law without exception.
That may sound like the right way to programme a robot to drive a car, Bloomberg said, but good luck trying to merge on to a chaotic, jam-packed highway with traffic flying along well above the speed limit.
For example, a General Motors self-driving research team offered test drives to members of the US Congress in a self-driving Cadillac SRX crossover.
The Caddy performed perfectly, said a report, except when it had to merge on to a freeway and quickly swing across three lanes of heavy traffic to an off-ramp.
The car’s cameras and laser sensors detected surrounding traffic all right but didn’t know how to muscle into the congestion – the human minder had to take control.