Ed Welburn
Business People

The Future is Now: Ed Welburn on Autonomous Vehicles

December 27, 2017

Ed Welburn shares his thoughts on the future of autonomous vehicles.

By Jackie Headapohl

“I’m excited about autonomous vehicles for many different reasons and I’m someone who loves to drive,” says Ed Welburn, retired chief designer at General Motors. “There are times that I would just as soon let the car drive itself.”

Far more important, he says is the potential for autonomous vehicles to provide people with disabilities and aging seniors the freedom to go where they want when they want.

“In its early days, the automobile gave people the freedom to move from town to town, and now the automobile can once again give people more freedom. That’s what excites me the most.

Autonomous Vehicles

Ed Welburn in his studio, Ladder Company 12.

“Some people are concerned that all autonomous vehicles are going to look like appliances — an egg that you get in and tell it where you want to go. I totally disagree,” he says. “Like fashion, everyone has their preference, and customers will have different opinions on what they want to drive, so there will be a wide variety of vehicles.”

“Personally, I am very excited about having an autonomous motor home,” he says. “A vehicle that can plan the trip, make the decisions on the best way to get there, tell you points of interest and make suggestions for things to do — a private tour bus. ”

“The transition to autonomous vehicles will be challenging, but I don’t think that future is all that far away.”

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