In his new book, Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car — and How It Will Reshape Our World (written with Christopher Shulgan), Larry Burns, former vice president of r&d at General Motors, writes about being astonished when his old boss, Bob Lutz, authored a piece in this publication last fall predicting the end of the automobile as we know it.
Burns has been an outspoken advocate of a new mobility world in which self-driving cars will play a pivotal role.
"My favorite symbol that this is happening," Burns noted, "came … when the ultimate car guy, Bob Lutz, the helicopter-flying, muscle-car-developing, cigar-chomping, and climate-change-denying former vice chairman of General Motors, published an essay in Automotive News. 'The era of the human-driven automobile, its repair facilities, its dealerships, the media surrounding it — all will be gone in 20 years,' Lutz wrote. 'The end state will be the fully autonomous module with no capability for the driver to exercise command.' "
Burns writes: "I couldn't believe it. Lutz — age eighty-five, the man at GM who tried countless times to cut the R&D budget I was spending to get us to exactly the future he described. If that doesn't mean the mobility disruption is inevitable, I don't know what does."