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Porsche to keep steering wheel, manual transmission alive

by Ronan Glon

The company admits semi-autonomous driving aids have advantages, though.

Porsche has again voiced its commitment to keeping the art of driving alive for as long as possible. The company isn't planning on building a car without a steering wheel anytime soon, but one of its top executives conceded it's important to invest in semi-autonomous driving aids.

"All these assistance systems help you in certain traffic situations to give away some of the burden of driving, and there are certain traffic situations where it's just not enjoyable. Our take rates for (adaptive) cruise control are just as high as any other car brand, and that's why in certain traffic situations, our customers will want that car to take them home without engaging personally," Klaus Zellmer, the CEO of Porsche's North American division, told Motor Authority.

Even dedicated sports cars like the 911 and the 718 offer adaptive cruise control. Motor Authority predicts Porsche could offer cars with level three or level four autonomous technology in the future but the driver will still be able to switch the system off and take control in a moment's notice. They may even be able to shift their own gears.

"Our plan is to always have the steering wheel and always have the pedals and potentially to even have the manual gearbox to really engage with the car and to do it all yourself. But, our customers always want it all. They want the possibility to use autonomous drive mode but they want to really engage with the car as well," Zellmer concluded.

Photo by Ronan Glon.