To make autonomous driving a reality, we need more than visionary technology. We need on-the-pulse information, controversial debate and a gathering of the best minds from industry and society. This is our commitment on 2025AD.
“I believe in the horse! The automobile is only a temporary phenomenon.”
Every revolution begins with a great deal of skepticism. It was the last German Emperor Wilhelm II who uttered the words above around the year 1900 – and while the man is rightfully to blame for many historic misjudgments, we might just forgive him for this one.
When the first automobiles hit the roads, their groundbreaking potential was not exactly obvious. Rather, they opened up a cosmos of challenges: children were frightened of the “witches’ wheels” and coachmen raged against the loud, dirty machines which threatened their business and terrified their horses. The dusty roads were in no condition to withstand the automobiles. Lawmakers around the world were struggling to regulate the new type of traffic in order to minimize the risk of fatal accidents.
And yet the automobile prevailed. And it changed the world forever.
The promise of individual mobility and freedom, combined with the infinite potential for business and industry, formed a magical combination that inspired generations of innovators. It was embraced by humankind despite its initial dangers and imperfections.
A NEW REVOLUTION BEGINS
Today, humankind is at the brink of another revolution: the revolution of AD – of autonomous driving. It won’t happen overnight, with a big bang. It will come in small steps, a revolution through evolution. At first, intelligent on-board technology will support drivers more and more. Next, vehicles will learn to communicate with each other – and ultimately to take over control, if the driver so wishes.
We believe the year 2025 to be the threshold to the world of AD. In 2025, we will witness regular cars which are driving fully automated on highways. For the first time we will be able to let go of the steering wheel at high speeds without even monitoring the drive – and without being on standby to resume control. We will let the car do the work and enjoy a new kind of freedom on the road.
Like the invention of the automobile, this will change the world forever.
The scope of the AD revolution is by no means smaller than the invention of the automobile itself. AD has the power to save countless lives by reducing accidents to virtually zero. It has the power to protect the environment by drastically lowering emissions. And it has the potential to improve our quality of life: by ending traffic jams forever; by letting us reclaim the precious time lost behind the wheel; by increasing living space in our cities; and by granting people with disabilities a whole new access to mobility. In short: AD has the power to rectify most of the imperfections of the automobile.
2025AD: A MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS
But like in the old days, there are challenges. Challenges that go beyond technical difficulties and reach far into other realms of society: questions of safety, legislation, privacy, liability and even philosophy abound. Like in the old days, misconceptions about the new technology spread like wildfire.
2025AD is dedicated to answering the questions, discussing the obstacles and clarifying the misconceptions. We see these challenges as fascinating, rather than discouraging. The platform, which is powered by Continental, will provide a constant stream of news – the only source you need for updates on autonomous driving. It is also designed to be an open marketplace of ideas: a multitude of experts from industry, science, politics and society are invited to voice and exchange their ideas and opinions. At the same time, every interested citizen is encouraged to join the debate and share his views, hopes and fears for the future of mobility.
We want to make the AD revolution happen. But we believe it can only happen if everyone is on board. It is in this spirit that we welcome you to join us on 2025AD!
Incidentally, Emperor Wilhelm’s skepticism was not meant to last. A few years after calling the automobile a “temporary phenomenon”, he himself was the proud owner of a fleet of 25 cars.