James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond starring in “The Grand Tour”Enlarge Photo
For decades, the automotive media has taken automobiles and discussed how they drive, their features, and why one might be a better buy than the other. When the day arrives where a car is ready to do the driving, there may be a bit less to talk about. Nevertheless, "The Grand Tour" hosts believe auto journalists will still have a place in the world.
In an optimistic interview with The Sunday Times, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond both discussed why self-driving cars won't instantly kill the car as we know it. Hammond, particularly, said people purchase what they like, and if a person wants something more interesting than an electric, self-driving car, then he or she will buy one. And if that happens to be a raucous sports car for canyon carving, then so it will be.
"It's an itch that needs to be scratched and has been since they started a hundred or so years ago," Hammond said of driving.
Clarkson echoed Hammond's thoughts, but also added that the public will still look to someone to talk about which self-driving car might be the better ride regarding amenities. "This one's better and this one's got a bed in it and this one's got a newspaper rack and this one's got a lavatory. There'll still be things to talk about," Clarkson said.
The hosts also believe self-driving cars won't be commonplace for some time to come. The technology isn't ready to completely displace humans from the driver's seat, per Clarkson.
Other companies beg to differ, however. Waymo, specifically, has already begun taking the backup human drivers out of its self-driving car prototypes. And most major automakers are predicting that fully self-driving cars will be here within the decade.