German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt still raves about the day he cruised down the A9 highway at the wheel of a self-driving car. All he had to do was push a button and, hey presto, the steering wheel turned and the car prepared to pass at 130 kmh. Mr. Dobrindt literally did not have to lift a finger.
Incredible? You bet — especially for backseat passengers wiping sweat from their brows.
Autonomous, networked driving is coming. And although carmakers anticipate big profits, they’re nervous about liability: Who is actually responsible when an automated vehicle crashes?
As they search for solutions, German carmakers like BMW and Daimler are coming under pressure and going head to head with U.S. Internet giants like Apple and Google, who are also working on self-driving cars, but have the edge in terms of big data.