When you want to ensure that your car company will survive well into our tech-laden third millennium, there's no better partner than the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That's why Lamborghini partnered with MIT as it prepares for a brave new automotive future.
Thinking about the current automotive zeitgeist and its focus on autonomy doesn't seem to leave much room for six-figure sports cars that get the heart (and, occasionally, the driver as a whole) racing. But Lamborghini isn't worried about autonomy. Its partnership with MIT will focus on research into new technologies that are a bit outside the box of conventional automotive wisdom.
"[The partnership] must allow Lamborghini to be ready for the changing philosophy of mobility in 2030 and beyond, something that guarantees we can continue to be on the market," said Maurizio Reggiani, board member for Lamborghini R&D, in an interview with Roadshow. "The customer cannot accept [a lack of] emotion."
Reggiani is at MIT right now, where the two parties will convene for the first round of brainstorming this Wednesday. Once both entities agree on some mutually interesting topics, they will collaborate on projects, share notes and run workshops, all in the name of advancing the industry, but specifically advancing Lamborghini's own cars.
"[In the case of the partnership], we're not talking about the next generation of cars, which is already in the pipeline," Reggiani said. With the next round of supercars already set in stone for the most part, this research will likely not bear fruit until the 2020s and beyond. But once we hit that point, anything's possible.
"[Utilizing] the normal processes of today, I will never be able to guarantee 2025 and beyond. I need to start to discuss different ideas and concepts that are a little bit outside the mainstream."
Suggesting that autonomy has a place in the world of the supercar seems heretical, but Reggiani thinks the two concepts can blend, so long as you define autonomy outside the bounds of a car that only ever drives itself.
Reggiani believes an autonomous Lamborghini might exist solely to improve a driver's own abilities, for example: "If I am on the track, I can have input from the car that allows me to be a better driver. If the car is able to teach me...I can really enjoy being close to it. This, for me, is what autonomous driving means. It's not somewhere you can read a newspaper. It's something that can support you."
Reggiani, and Lamborghini in general, believes that the partnership with MIT is an important link to developing the future of supercars. Despite an overwhelming excitement brewing to dive into a future based on the rationality of computers, Lamborghini wants to ensure that emotion doesn't fall by the wayside.
That's how Lamborghini survives, after all. You don't buy one because it's the rational thing to do.