Why conventional vs. autonomous cars is not a zero-sum game | #NAIAS

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It’s not difficult to find predictions about autonomous vehicles completely replacing conventional ones in the near future. Naturally, this may have some in the automotive business worried about the industry’s trajectory. Will there be a place for their skills as conventional car engineers in the autonomous future?

“I strongly believe that we still will have conventional cars like we have today,” said Richard Hirschmann, CEO of North America at ThyssenKrupp Presta Steering. Hirschmann told Jeff Frick (@JeffFrick), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio, during the North American International Auto Show that he’s not losing sleep over autonomous vehicles replacing conventional ones.

He explained that technological advances in autonomous and software-powered driving can be used to improve conventional cars rather than make them obsolete. “There are huge opportunities for completely new business areas which are not covered today by cars,” he said.

The new ‘hybrid’ vehicle

Hirschmann gave the example of new steering technology in otherwise “conventional” cars. He spoke about the research ThyssenKrupp Presta Steering is conducting on software-optimized steering.

“The advantage really comes in combination with all these autonomous technologies, because you can move the steering wheel independently from the wheels,” he said.

He also stated that the technology can correct poor steering without any effort or even knowledge on the part of the driver. Also, he said they can have a fully autonomous steering option. “You can have the steering wheel standing still and the wheels of the car are still turning,” he explained.

Hirschmann also said the company’s platform can communicate with the car remotely through Internet of Things technology.

“We use sensors from the car, so we don’t provide any of the sensors. We get this information over the bus system [Controller Area Network, or CAN Bus] from the car, and we use it to activate the steering,” he explained.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of the North American International Auto Show.

Photo by SiliconANGLE