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Despite most premium brands moving towards an autonomous future, Mazda has confirmed its vehicles will always feature a steering wheel.

Speaking to media at the 2017 Los Angeles motor show, president and CEO of Mazda North America Operations, Masahiro Moro said that there’s not a chance of Mazda ditching a steering wheel for Level 5 autonomy.

“No steering wheel is not an option for us. I always believe a human is the best computer to drive a car. Autonomous driving technology should just help so that a driver can continue to enjoy the car. If anything happens accidentally, the technology can then override to take safe control and bring the driver back to the road,” said Moro.

“Driving dynamics between the car and driver is our intent. Mazda is not a producer of commodity products, we want to produce something meaningful for the drive to appreciate every single day and everyday life.”

“It needs to be enriching so that the car becomes part of your life. That means the car must always differentiate from the mainstream,” Moro said.

It’s an interesting statement given Mazda is already leading the charge in Australia with making safety features like autonomous emergency braking (AEB) standard across its range of passenger cars.

But, it still means that Mazda could offer Level 4 autonomy (get the full breakdown of autonomous driving levels here), which allows the vehicle to take full control from the start to the end of the journey, but also allows the driver to take hold of the steering wheel to drive at any point.

Is it a smart move for Mazda to create a unique position by avoiding Level 5 autonomy?

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