Aston Martin slams ‘reckless’ self-driving tech
Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer says a push for semi-autonomous driving systems is "reckless".
Palmer says the brand won't follow Tesla, Audi and Mercedes down the path of "level three" autonomous driving features, which allow people to hand over control to the car in some circumstances but put the responsibility back on the driver if something goes wrong.
"The answer isn't allowing stuff like level three technology," Palmer says.
"In our mind, level three technology is reckless. It's reckless insofar as you allow the car to, in many circumstances, have the ability to drive you from A to B, but when it has a problem it instantaneously hands back responsibility to the driver."
Audi offers level three tech to customers in some markets, but not yet Australia.
Palmer says it makes more sense to jump straight to level four autonomy, where the driver can hand off control and responsibility.
The former chief planning officer at Nissan is similarly cautious about electric car claims.
"If you listen to some of the press, we're all going to be driving around in electric cars next year," Palmer says.
"That ain't gonna happen.
"Call me a dinosaur - but I don't think I am because I invented the first electric car, the [Nissan] Leaf - it will be a balance, and it will evolve over now until 2040, and technology will find a natural position."
Palmer believes electric cars and electrified petrol/electric or hydrogen cars will share space in showrooms for decades to come.
Aston Martin's range will be entirely hybridised in the near future.
The brand stole the spotlight from premium rivals at the Geneva Motor show in March, unveiling a series of near-production-ready mid-engine vehicles pitched at the likes of Ferrari and McLaren.
Growing ever closer to its Formula 1 partners at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, the marque entertained dozens of guests at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, where more than a couple of people committed to a $2.4 million hybrid supercar codenamed AM-RB 003.
"By the time that car comes in 2022 we will have been doing Formula 1 for six years.
"Valkyrie, the greatest car ever, basically legitimises that Formula 1 on the road, then the car that you lust after is the 003, that's your LaFerrari - very expensive, but more within reach, and the one you can probably afford to put in your drive is the Vanquish."
All three cars represent mechanical departures from the brand's regular line-up, as does the DBX crossover, a high-riding alternative to the Porsche Cayenne and Bentley Bentayga.