Further to the article about driverless cars, I´d like to draw your attention to Bosch´s path towards driverless cars.
According to Automotive News the four main steps are as follows:
• Integrated highway assist: In 2017, the vehicle would travel up to 75 mph on the highway, remaining within its lane, while the motorist keeps his eyes on the road.
• Highway assist: In 2018, the vehicle would move at high speeds on the highway, and would change lanes with the driver’s approval. The motorist would keep his eyes on the road.
• Highway pilot: By 2020, the vehicle would maneuver itself on the highway while the motorist attends to other tasks, such as reading, chatting with passengers, working on his computer, etc. The motorist would be prepared to take over quickly, if necessary. If the motorist is unable to do so, the car would pull over and stop itself.
• Auto pilot: Around 2025, the vehicle would drive itself from door to door without the motorist’s intervention.
That´s a decade. I presume all these cars will for the time being have all the hardware needed for the driver to take over. And I can´t see that hardware disappearing. There are engineering problems to be solved with having movable controls – or will they ever really be able to pack them away? I contend that as long as their is the need for human intervention there will need to be fully usable and instantly usable controls in position. So, it seems unlikely that the interiors will ever become fully lounge-like so long as the car is mobile.