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Is driving being driven to extinction?

Concept cars are a glimpse into what car makers see as the future. Guess what? Two thirds of the cars in this list don't need a driver.

It's all part of a global trend towards faster, more powerful cars that require less attention and skill to operate. Although it's hard for me to fathom, a lot of people don't actually like driving, and that's really been behind the push to relieve the driver of the terrible burden of operating a car.

My take is that we'll see city commuter cars rapidly switching to autonomous driving as the technology matures. There's clearly a lot of buzz around it, and it solves a real problem. Not all cars are commuter cars though - utility vehicles drive off road, and sports cars are focussed around driving, so the AI's going to have to take the passenger seat at least some of the time.

Still, I'm sure I don't have to point out the irony of BMW making a fully-autonomous car, complete with a bookshelf and windscreen-blocking cinema screen, while their slogan is "The Ultimate Driving Machine".

Concept cars might seem like a strange part of the auto industry. The cars are often nowhere near practical and simply bizarre. But automakers use concept cars to show how they think the auto industry will change with advents in battery tech, self-driving software, and artificial intelligence. They may not be road-ready anytime soon, but they act as a litmus test to explore changes to come.

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