The company calls its tech "chauffers"

Rolls-Royce may have succumbed to the growing demand of SUVs all over the world, but don’t expect the British luxury brand to do the same with semi-autonomous driving technology. Rolls has no interest in joining that race because, in its mind, most people who own Rolls-Royce models don’t even drive them. They have chauffeurs that drive the cars for them.

Rolls-Royce Isn't Rushing To Develop Autonomous Driving Tech Because It's Been Using it For Years Exterior
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Müller-Ötvös’ point is that semi-autonomous driving technology isn’t worth the company’s time because it is an in-between solution to the actual end-game solution, full autonomy

On the surface, this sounds like a snide remark. Well, it is a bit, but the comment was made by no less than Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös in a conversation with Car and Driver. "It’s important to understand that not just many but all of our customers do have chauffeurs," he said. “If not permanently employed, then somebody they can call and say, ’Bring me to the opera tonight,’ or ’Drive me and my friends to the restaurant.’ That is not a problem. And we will only bring autonomy into our cars if it is truly effortless."

We don’t think Müller-Ötvös meant to be insensitive by demeaning the work of chauffeurs because, from a certain perspective, his comments make sense if you can interpret it with your tongues firmly planted in your cheeks.

There’s some logic to it, too. Since most owners of Rolls-Royce models employ chauffeurs, that in itself means that they’re not driving their own cars, freeing them to do all the things that autonomous driving technology is promising. Read a book? Sure. Watch TV? Have at it. Go to sleep? Nighty-night.

Müller-Ötvös’ point is that semi-autonomous driving technology isn’t worth the company’s time because it is an in-between solution to the actual end-game solution, full autonomy. The Rolls-Royce CEO didn’t say whether the company would be more amenable to adopting autonomous technology, but with the supposed benefits it provides from a real-world perspective, it’s something that the company could consider, at least if it ends up in that position.

Fortunately, it doesn’t need to do a lot of the legwork developing the tech because parent company BMW is already doing it for quite some time now. Once the German auto giant has a technology that it can start using on its production models, expect Rolls-Royce to revisit the possibility of using the tech on its models.

But in the meantime, according to Müller-Ötvös, chauffeurs are still the way go.

References

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Source: Car and Driver

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