Mercedes-Benz essentially drew a line in the sand last week, making a clear distinction in the branding and marketing of its autonomous driving functions
According to head of sales and marketing Britta Seeger, you will no longer see the word ‘pilot’ associated with the German brand’s bourgeoning autonomous driving functions – simply because the car-maker doesn’t want to give customers the wrong impression.
“One thing we started to do is not to name this pilot anymore, in order to prevent customers to think that this is driving,” she said.
“We are naming these assistance systems and I think this is very important in order to set the expectation.
“In communicating to the customer, we take a lot of care to remind them [how the system works]. That you need to grip the steering wheel.”
Mercedes-Benz has already begun implementing its ‘assistance’ moniker across new models, meaning the pilot jargon will be quickly phased out.
“I don’ think it was a mistake, but taking into consideration what happened in the awareness of the customer I think it’s better for the customer to set the expectation of an assistance system,” Seeger said.
This isn’t to say the advent of the self-driving car isn’t coming. According to Seeger, the technology isn’t far away, however, uncertainty still surrounds the speed and extent of necessary legislative changes.
“From the technology side we will see changes in a very short time,” she said.