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Will driverless cars mean the end of the road for the Chicago Auto Show?

Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Automotive News

"We have a little different approach than some others," Deneau said. "We're not trying to do things soup to nuts; we're trying to work with the folks that are the experts in that space."

Drivers are getting slightly more comfortable with the concept of handing the wheel to a computer, according to a study released last week by AAA. The annual survey found that 63 percent of U.S. drivers were afraid to ride in an autonomous vehicle, down from 78 percent in 2017. Millennials were more trusting of the technology, with half ready to ride shotgun with a robot driver.

Consumers should have some time to get used to the concept before self-driving cars come into widespread personal use, Krebs said

"The average consumer is not going to have an autonomous vehicle in their garage anytime soon," Krebs said. "We're talking 10, 20, maybe 30 years before everybody is traveling around in autonomous vehicles."

Krebs said the initial cost of autonomous vehicles will be prohibitive for most buyers, and may lead to a new business model for acquiring personal transportation, such as monthly subscription services or pay-by-mile plans.

It may also lead to the end of the two-car family, she said. What it means for auto shows remains to be seen.


Meanwhile, the Chicago Auto Show is sticking to its well-traveled route to success, setting up displays, rolling out the glitz and looking to pack in potential buyers of traditional vehicles, as it has since the first event in 1901.

"We'll continue to do that as long as we can," Sloan said.

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