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Mazda’s Approach to Vehicle Autonomy

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2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Between technologies like Cadillac’s Super Cruise and Tesla’s Autopilot, automakers are enthusiastically pushing towards vehicle autonomy. However, Mazda — a company known for celebrating the joy of driving, is taking a radically different approach.

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About the Mazda Co-Pilot Concept

The Mazda Co-Pilot Concept technology prioritizes safety above all else. The automaker doesn’t want drivers asleep at the wheel. Rather, the Co-Pilot System would only kick in if the driver became incapacitated — a feature that could save the lives of drivers prone to seizures, among others.

According to Mazda deputy general manager Matsuhiro Tanaka, the company isn’t abandoning its mission to provide a thrilling driving experience. From that, it’s easy to infer that Mazda isn’t aiming for “hands-off, eyes-off” Level 4 autonomy, let alone full-blown, Level 5 autonomous driving.

Tanaka declined to name a level that Mazda is aiming for. However, he stated, “…Should anything happen to the driver that renders the situation dangerous, then the autonomous driving functions will kick in and take them to a safe place.”

And while Mazda vehicles might provide fast-paced fun on the racetrack, the automaker isn’t interested in getting involved in a vehicle autonomy tech race. After all, for a company that celebrates driving, why compete to make driving unnecessary?

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Similar technology, different attitudes

Tanaka added that Mazda isn’t pioneering some new breed of semi-autonomous driving technology. Rather, the company is interested in applying the technology in safe, helpful, and innovative ways.

“For us, the car is there for fun, the controlling of the car is where the fun is, and that will be our main focus when introducing the autonomous-driving technology,“ he explained. “…We only want to use this technology to avoid horrendous situations, and in emergencies.”

So don’t worry — if you’re one of the many people who are skeptical about self-driving cars, Mazda wants to keep you behind the wheel while also keeping your fellow road users safe.

Source: Cars Guide