How driverless cars will affect automobile brands

By on July 2, 2013
What will BMWs position be when there are no drivers?

Driverless cars are inevitable.  Google among others already have this technology working.  However, the complexity may increase exponentially with every additional driverless car on the road.   But beyond this complexity is a “monkey wrench” in automobile branding.

BMW – The Ultimate Passenger Machine?

Automobile manufacturers attempt to differentiate on sporty handling and responsiveness.  Pointing out the obvious:  If there is no driver, there is no driving.  How will the auto-makers respond?  Perhaps different automobiles will have various driving modes, similar to current-day steering selections.  Even current MPG and power trade-offs may (will) be irrelevant when electric cars are ubiquitous.

What about safety?

Will driverless cars get in accidents?  The auto brands invest heavily on safety features and crash testing.  However, if cars simply no longer get in accidents, it will be difficult to convince consumers that safety is important.  Perhaps brands will focus more on drivability in poor weather conditions and off-roading.

What is a driverless car really — a living room on wheels?

It seems that the future automobile branding will need to focus on luxury and technology.  The brands may be boasting about leather seats, the 35 speaker radios, entertainment apps and big screen televisions.

But will the automobile brands be able to differentiate in this domain?  It sounds like a “Living Room/Computer on wheels”, core competencies more easily satisfied by Apple, Google (Android) and Microsoft.


About MikeZeinfeld

Mike Zeinfeld is the CEO of Complemedia, Inc. Complemedia develops proprietary media channels for niche audiences using technology. Current projects include IoT ventures such as and

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