Though they are far from production-ready, Level 5 autonomous cars are already being touted by the media. For those who are unfamiliar with the different levels of autonomous cars, Level 5 is a vehicle with no steering wheel or pedals without the need for a human driver. Many automakers, like GM, Honda, and Volkswagen, have been trying to build one of these Level 5 autonomous cars.
Porsche, on the other hand, says it will never go beyond semi-autonomous vehicles. Speaking to MotorAuthority at the Rennsport Reunion VI, Porsche North America CEO Klaus Zellmer said his company will never take away the steering wheel or the pedals.
Instead of a car that never requires a driver, Porsche imagines a future sports car that you can enjoy on a canyon road, then have it handle the boring traffic on the ride home. "All these assistance systems help you in certain traffic situations to give away some of the burdens of driving, and there are certain traffic situations where it’s just not enjoyable. Our take rates for (adaptive) cruise control are just as high as any other car brand, and that’s why in certain traffic situations, our customers will want that car to take them home without engaging personally," Zellmer said.
It may not be an easy task, but Porsche wants its cars to remain fun, while also having some autonomous features. "Our plan is to always have the steering wheel and always have the pedals and potentially to even have the manual gearbox to really engage with the car and to do it all yourself. But, our customers always want it all. They want the possibility to use autonomous drive mode but they want to really engage with the car as well," Zellmer explained.
This all sounds like good news to us. We are happy to hear that Porsche doesn't plan to get rid of steering wheels any time soon. In fact, the company may even find ways to use autonomous features to make you a better driver and take away all of the boring parts of driving without ruining the fun parts.