Driverless cars and other intelligent transportation solutions have flooded the panels at Web Summit this year. While the focus is predominantly on affordable autonomy, a few panels have focused in more closely on luxury, with a spotlight on BMW, Cadillac and Aston Martin.

Cadillac president Johan de Nyscchen, joined by moderator Peter Campbell of the Financial Times, delighted the audience with an open discussion about the future of driverless cars in the luxury market, and in the face of competition from ride-sharing programs. Nyscchen’s predictions were through the lenses of  autonomy, connectivity and electrification.

In boasting about Cadillac’s work in the driverless space, Nyscchen stressed that it’s not just about cool tech amenities and sensors; the future of driverless cars is as dependent on collaboration with government regulators, engineers and automakers as it is on the tech itself.

Much of the advancements coming to the marketplace, including ones that Cadillac is working on, were sparked by consumer demand. Campbell asked Nyscchen if he saw ride-sharing and other emerging trends as a threat to car ownership. Nyscchen responded unfazed and without worry. He explained that as someone who lives in New York City, his car fills very specific role for him, not replaceable by so-called competitors. Automakers have a challenge to respond to demand and trends, including ride-sharing, which Nyscchen simply sees as another use-case and opportunity.

Luxury or not, car ownership is poised for an evolution — from the functions a car performs, what a driver can do while in control or hands-free, and how people communicate from car to car, a capability that Nyscchen says the newest fleet of Cadillac cars is already capable of.

Written by IEEE on November 9, 2016