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McLaren Working On Self Driving Cars—Kind Of

McLaren will be adding some features of self-driving cars to their next generation of insane supercars.

Speaking with Autocar, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt admitted that while self-driving cars aren’t exactly what Mclaren’s customers are after, it’ll be necessary to adopt some autonomous features to keep up with legislation.

“We will be selective. Autonomy in its own right isn’t that appealing to our customers, but we need to have capabilities designed in for safety, legislation, and emissions,” he said.

As new safety technologies become available and increasingly common, such as frontal collision avoidance, many European countries are starting to mandate such safety features be mandatory on all newer models cars. And once you have that kind of technology installed, you might as well add adaptive cruise control with lane keeping and automatic braking —especially on a luxury sports car like a McLaren.

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In addition to news that future cars might be more automated than ever before, Flewitt also dropped the bombshell that all future McLaren models after whatever replaces the current 570S will all be hybrid-electric cars.

“Hybrid design is part of the next platform – it is designed-in from day one rather than having to adapt an existing chassis,” said Flewitt.

The company’s current fleet leader, the P1, is already technically a hybrid car, with an electric motor that’s charged via the massive 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine or with a handy extension cord. However, the driver can turn off the electric motors if they want to have the “pure” internal combustion experience. Nevermind the fact that you’d be stupid to do so since the electric motors are designed to fill in the gaps left by the turbo lag.

Flewitt conformed that McLaren’s most recent car, the 720S, won’t become a hybrid until 2022, but after that, all of the British carmaker's lineup will be hybrid-electric.

Except for a few special cases. Namely, limited edition cars in the Ultimate Series, like the Senna and upcoming BP23, will still be purely gasoline driven engines. But given those will mostly be for racing we can forgive them for not getting on the environmental bandwagon.

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