There is a lot of talk going on about Google’s new Self-Driving Car Project recently introduced at the Code Conference last Tuesday. While reading all the speculation swirling around the features and how these cars could potentially be used, I came across this interesting article by Ben Johnson talking about the name shift from “driverless” to “self-driving” cars, and it made me appreciate the genius of Google even more.
Johnson brings up the point that the term “driverless” suggests something out of control, while “self-driving” suggests independence and efficiency. Combine that with the fact that these cars don’t even look like cars anymore, but rather a happy vehicle out of a children’s cartoon, you start to see the subtle marketing at work.
New technology can sometimes make people nervous, especially when your life is in the hands of a self-piloted vehicle, which is probably why Google is not only nailing down what a self-driving car should look like, but how we refer to it and how it is marketed to consumers. Working at a Charlotte advertising agency, it is interesting to see marketing at work from an outsider’s perspective.