Skip to main content

Porsche promises it will be one of the last brands to ditch the steering wheel

Porsche
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
The automotive industry’s shift toward autonomous cars is a frightening transformation for enthusiasts who genuinely like to drive. The technology promises to turn the commonly accepted idea of a car on its head and swat driving enjoyment like a fly against a kitchen counter. Porsche has joined the shift, but it stresses technology won’t dilute its cars’ performance genes.

“Driving yourself will hopefully remain the most important thing at Porsche for a very long time. The Porsche sports car will be one of the last automobiles with a steering wheel,” opined Lutz Meschke, Porsche’s board member for finance and IT, in a statement.

That’s good news, at least if you have the means to buy a Porsche. The German firm nonetheless concedes it needs to bake an increasing amount of technology into its models in order to satisfy demand from buyers in key markets, and keep up with its main rivals. Meschke points out traffic jam assist systems that take complete control of the car in dense traffic will become necessary moving forward, as will systems that allow the car to park itself. The company predicts both of these features will soon be must-haves in the luxury segment.

As it stands, Porsche’s most advanced driving aid is called InnoDrive. We recently tested the system on the roads around the company’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. It’s a super-cruise control system that doesn’t neuter a car’s performance genes. It can sling you into a curve just like a human driver would. It also analyzes data from onboard sensors and navigation information to remain about two miles ahead of the car at all times. It knows when there’s a hill, when there’s a bend, and where the speed limit drops.

InnoDrive is currently only available on the Panamera and the brand-new third-generation Cayenne, which are the more family-oriented models in the Porsche lineup. Meschke said that trend will continue into the future. Some models will be offered with more tech features and a greater level of autonomy while others will be appreciably more basic. But even in a car like the GT2 RS, full autonomy could come in handy to show rookie racers the fastest way around a track.

Meschke also predicted Porsche will make a huge leap with the Mission E, its first all-electric model. It’s tentatively scheduled to arrive in showrooms in 2019. When it does, an over-the-air updating system will give buyers the possibility to upgrade their car whenever they want, even if they only need a feature for a day, a week, or a month.

“Imagine that you could use a software update to download [more horsepower] over-the-air at short notice if you want to head to the racetrack on the weekend – or dynamic headlights if you are headed for a long night drive,” he said. Tech is expensive, so Porsche is spending a considerable amount of money on bringing it to the market in a timely and reliable manner. Rest assured, though; the brand isn’t following Google’s Waymo brand into the world of fully autonomous pods.

Editors' Recommendations

Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
Waymo’s autonomous cars steer clear of any potential election unrest
Waymo fake city test

Waymo has taken its autonomous cars off the streets of San Francisco and placed them in a secure location to ensure they don’t get caught up in any election-related unrest that may occur.

Transdev, Waymo’s fleet operations vendor, told The Verge that the company had decided to temporarily pause testing of its self-driving vehicles until Thursday.

Read more
New Tesla self-driving software could reduce driver interventions by one third
Tesla Model 3

Tesla only released the first version of its Full Self-Driving software beta just over a week ago, but it is already being updated with new improvements. The company has been collecting data from the early users and has made improvements that CEO Elon Musk says could reduce driver interventions by as much as one third.

The new software, version 2020.40.8.12, began rolling out on Friday, as reported by Electrek. Those who already have access to the Full Self-Driving beta software will receive the update which should make the use of the system smoother, with fewer requirements for the driver to intervene.

Read more
Porsche lets enthusiasts seamlessly add Apple CarPlay to 50-year-old cars
Porsche PCCM

Porsche added the first-generation 911 introduced in 1964 to the list of cars compatible with Apple CarPlay. Check your calendar; April 1 was weeks ago. There is no need to deal with suction cups, bulky screens, or wires, either.

The company designed a touch-capable head unit that seamlessly replaces the radio in many of its classic models to enable some of the most popular connectivity features found in modern-day cars while retaining a period-correct look. In addition to CarPlay, the device is packed with an SD card-based navigation system that offers 2D and 3D views plus a point-of-interest search function, a USB port, an AUX input, and Bluetooth compatibility.

Read more