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What Does Autonomy Mean for Supercars?

October 6, 2017

In a future without steering wheels, you may wonder what remains for Ferrari, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and other automakers that have built their businesses on driving experience. As it turns out, supercar manufacturers are also eyeing autonomy—just not in the way that passenger-hauling firms like Uber are.

Speaking to Blackbird Automotive, McLaren’s design director, Frank Stephenson, imagined a possible future use for self-driving technology in his company’s cars:

“The car basically takes you around the track at the right speed, the right RPMs, the right gears, the right line, and you learn through the car showing you the best way. Then you can take over on the next few laps, and if you make a mistake, the car can intervene.”

And that view is shared elsewhere. In an interview with Wired, Lamborghini’s chief engineer, Maurizio Reggiani, explains:

“You can give a threshold where you can use the car, starting to have fun, but in a condition that you’ll never be scared. This can be a tool for our customers, like having a tutor.”

In other words: autonomous systems in supercars will help rich people with a need for speed crash less often—when they insist on actually driving, that is.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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