We reported a few weeks again that despite the much anticipated Alfa Romeo Giulia being billed as a pure driver’s car—especially in 505-horsepower, twin-turbo, stick-shift Quadrifogliospec. Alfa Romeo hopes to have Tesla Autopilot-style semi-autonomous tech available as an option on the upcoming sport saloon.
The rumour seems to have been confirmed this week, speaking with magazine Autocar, Alfa Romeo boss Harald Wester makes a pretty compelling case for how semi-autonomous tech could make old-fashioned driving more enjoyable.
“I am absolutely convinced that once fully autonomous vehicles are established, the more people will appreciate driving on a road free of traffic and enjoy driving their car again,” Wester told Autocar. “Then it will be as important as ever to produce a car which elicits a huge amount of driving emotions.”
“We have been asked several times whether such technology is in contrast with a brand like Alfa Romeo. I think the opposite is correct,” Wester said. “We all know the situation [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][…] you go to work in the morning and very quickly you find yourself in a sequence of stopping and starting, and it is a real waste of time and energy. In the future we will start to give you that time back so you can spend it better,” he said.
Perhaps that’s a few years off, though: Wester told Autocar that full autonomous technology won’t be available in Fiat Chrysler products until 2024 at the earliest. That sounds like a realistically conservative timeline, with the semi-autonomous tech currently under development for the Giulia serving as a stepping stone towards true autonomous operation.
Alfa Romeo enthusiasts will baulk at the idea, but in a world of ever more traffic congestion and a need to compete with the likes of Mercedes, Tesla etc the Italian carmaker has little choice in the real world.