Some things in life go hand in hand perfectly – like cheese and wine, for example. Others, however, were never meant to be used in the same sentence – like Ferrari and autonomous driving. This is probably a good lesson for artificial intelligence experts to learn before approaching the Maranello-based automaker with ideas on how to make a Ferrari drive on itself. A group of AI specialists recently learned this the hard way.
Ferrari hosted a couple of AI experts who wanted to convince the supercar manufacturer’s executives that Ferrari should embrace autonomous driving. The brand’s CEO Benedetto Vigna was not really interested and decided to give them a spin in a Ferrari car on the Fiorano race track, which the company owns and uses for development and testing purposes. And guess what – the discussion was over.
“The AI guys had a ride with our test driver,” the CEO told reporters in Maranello earlier this week during a press conference, focused on the brand’s electrification strategy. “When they got out from a Ferrari they told me, ‘OK Benedetto, our presentation is useless.’”
This whole thing doesn’t mean Ferrari will never use assistance systems in its cars, though. The plan from Maranello is to keep working on more advanced driver-supporting tech but never reach Level 5 autonomous driving. According to categorisation by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the most advanced self-driving systems will allow the driver to become a passenger and never take full control of the vehicle. Level 5 cars won’t even have steering wheels or acceleration and brake pedals. Obviously, that’s not something Vigna wants to see in a Ferrari car.
Gallery: Ferrari SP48 Unica
“No customer is going to spend money for the computer in the car to enjoy the drive,” Vigna added speaking to Bloomberg Television. “The value of the man, of the human at the centre, is fundamental.”
Last year, the Chairman of Stellantis John Elkann also admitted during a conversation with Tesla CEO Elon Musk that Ferrari won't be among the brands that will ever offer fully autonomous tech. All we can say is - thank you, gentlemen!