Tuesday, January 17, 2017
The stodgy auto industry is becoming new with the advent of driverless vehicles. Old habits are being shucked for collaborations with tech companies that have the software and hardware for autonomous cars and trucks. This will necessitate a change in PR for manufacturers and marketers who have for more than 100 years touted the pleasures of steering a machine in all sorts of environments. It is likely that driverless vehicles will be promoted as a safety feature to begin with. That is how current technologies are being featured -- backup camera, auto braking, self-parking, steerable headlights, lane keeping. From safety the PR will eventually move to convenience -- working in a car while it is driving, watching video without distraction of lane changing and turning. The old-line manufacturers will test autonomous vehicles for a million miles or more and will proceed cautiously with a roll-out. In the meantime, they will study the consumer base to see how driverless machines will be accepted.