Let me a share a little more context of what I toldwhen we spoke about this since his word count was limited for the news paper.
First, an important aspect of protecting occupants involves keeping them in position so airbags can do their job. That's why more and more cars have knee airbags, so the passenger or driver don't submarine and the frontal bag can work effectively. If the seats can swivel around to any arbitrary position protecting occupants will be nearly impossible. Someday when all vehicles are autonomous and can't crash, this may be viable but until that time which is likely decades away, this ain't happening.
Second, until we have a sufficiently high degree of confidence that the sensing and actuation systems will always work and these vehicles can drive themselves properly under all conditions, drivers will need to remain in position, paying attention to what is happening and ready to take over at any time. This will also preclude these fancy swivelling seats.
I'm not a luddite, I want this stuff to come to fruition for a number of reasons, but I am a realist and understand how extraordinarily hard the problems are that engineers are trying to resolve. ?
Automakers Rethink Seats for Self-Driving Cars – NYTimes.com
As envisioned by some companies, self-driving cars will have front seats that can face each other so occupants, even the person in the driver’s seat, can chat face to face.
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