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Old 18th August 2016, 12:27   #1
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Default Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

Like perhaps everyone else on this forum, I too have a dilemma - what car? I want to take the plunge, but given the disruptive advance the car industry is about to see, the question is how deep?

I have an SX4, which is my first car, nearly 10 years old and serving me well, and which I plan to keep (for as long as possible). I have been driving for a while now - as a guy in my mid 30s, mathematics tells me I have spent more years behind the wheel than on the back seat.

But, at heart, I am not a driver. I would rather spend that time looking out of the window, watching the trees go by and observing the droplets of water trickle down the car window pane. Unfortunately, it is time for my kids rather than me to savor these moments of joy.

Which brings me to the original question - what car? There is now a need to have a car that is able to cope up with the demands of a larger family. I have a new baby on the way, which means that with parents, and the possibility of having a canine companion sometime ahead, there is a need for another car - a larger car.

Given that I intend to keep cars for as long as possible, I was hoping to buy the new Innova Crysta in the automatic avatar. Assuming the Force runs strong in the family, the Crysta would have been able to easily able to serve my long term demands. There is also the humble Ertiga ATV which costs less than half of the Crysta, but has lesser features and in general is less desirable even though it meets my demands as a reluctant driver.

I could have probaly solved this equation myself, if not for this huge variable called 'Self-Driving-Cars'. I was under the assumption that this technology is a good 20 years away. However, it seems that this technology is just 5 to 7 years away -

http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-new...g-2021-n632071

For the not-so-enthusiastic driver in me, these are exciting and confusing times. Maybe it will take a lot longer to get the necessary infrastructure up in India, maybe not. But given that this technology is just round the corner, does it not make sense to buy the next car as a stop-gap solution instead of splurging, and instead save-up for the self-driving car which should be widely available in a few years time?
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Old 18th August 2016, 12:51   #2
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Default re: Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

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Originally Posted by nishsingh View Post
I would rather spend that time looking out of the window, watching the trees go by and observing the droplets of water trickle down the car window pane. Unfortunately, it is time for my kids rather than me to savor these moments of joy.
Why not employ a driver? You get the best of both worlds.

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Originally Posted by nishsingh View Post
For the not-so-enthusiastic driver in me, these are exciting and confusing times. Maybe it will take a lot longer to get the necessary infrastructure up in India, maybe not. But given that this technology is just round the corner, does it not make sense to buy the next car as a stop-gap solution instead of splurging, and instead save-up for the self-driving car which should be widely available in a few years time?
While I admire your optimism, there is absolutely no point holding off any decision for a self-driving car. Expecting one in India in the next 5 years is implausible on so many levels.

Last edited by libranof1987 : 18th August 2016 at 12:53.
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Old 18th August 2016, 13:00   #3
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Default re: Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

Well with the Innova it is not really splurging as you will recover a good amount of your money whenever you sell due to its excellent resale value. The Ertiga/Lodgy and other MUVs/SUVs under 20L are decent alternatives to the Innova but then fall short in one or the other areas and are more of a compromise when pitted against the Innova.

Self drive cars are still some time away for sure, atleast in India. The way our traffic is, I doubt they will be a success on our roads. Take a look at Volvo cars with all their safety mechanisms and alarms. Almost all reviews start with saying that the reviewer had to switch them off because they got annoying since there is just too much traffic and movement on our roads.

So I would suggest if you have the Vitamin M then go ahead with the Innova Crysta.
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Old 18th August 2016, 13:06   #4
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Default re: Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

IMO, there is no point in holding your decision and waiting for driver-less car.

Even after the driver-less car is available, I will not advise the friends and relatives to go for it immediately. First observe how the technology performs, what level of safety and reliability does it offer and what is the cost. After introduction, the technology could undergo sea changes based on the market feedback and response.

So I suggest you to select and buy a car.

The outing of entire family including the wife, parents and kids is mostly occasional; not everyday affair. So you can hire an Innova on such occasions. For routine duty, you can buy a sedan / hatchback of your choice.
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Old 18th August 2016, 13:37   #5
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Default re: Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

I really doubt if 5 years is a sufficient time in India for self driven cars unless there is a drastic change in the mentality of people on the roads. Given the growing indiscipline on the roads by pedestrians and other vehicles, the self driving car would not be a success at all IMHO. So best option is to opt for the current set of cars and keep a driver
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Old 18th August 2016, 13:52   #6
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Default re: Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

COnsidering your options based on whether self driving cars will be de facto is sort of pointless as of now, in India.
We will be lucky if he have roads and cars similar to the US 10 years ago by 2021. Go for it now.

And like you said, it's the turn of your kids to enjoy the droplets streaking across the window. Give them a splurged upon, if you wish, ride.
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Old 18th August 2016, 14:03   #7
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Default re: Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
Why not employ a driver? You get the best of both worlds.
Simple. Because I find it difficult to get myself to trust a driver with my family's life. Most of the ones I have traveled with do not pay enough attention on the road, are easily distracted and do not anticipate situations in advance. I believe the A.I. of a driverless car will do a better job in most cases.


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Originally Posted by drmohitg View Post
Well with the Innova it is not really splurging as you will recover a good amount of your money whenever you sell due to its excellent resale value.
I am not sure if the resale values for the Innova will hold once the self-driving cars are round the corner. The skeptical me feels that the traditional cars will start disappearing much like the feature phones did once the iPhone was announced.

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Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
Even after the driver-less car is available, I will not advise the friends and relatives to go for it immediately. First observe how the technology performs, what level of safety and reliability does it offer and what is the cost. After introduction, the technology could undergo sea changes based on the market feedback and response.
.
I agree, but once the technology is in the market an in mass-production, it might not take long to become more mature.

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Originally Posted by centaur View Post
I really doubt if 5 years is a sufficient time in India for self driven cars unless there is a drastic change in the mentality of people on the roads.
That is certainly true. In case of an accident involving a driverless car, I am assuming it would be the passengers who would get bashed up by the by-standers?
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Old 18th August 2016, 14:14   #8
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Default re: Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

Waiting for GST roll out would be advisable, but as others also said, driver-less technologies and India 's infrastructure both needs huge effort to make these technologies feasible in India.
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Old 18th August 2016, 14:33   #9
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Default re: Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

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Originally Posted by nishsingh View Post
The skeptical me feels that the traditional cars will start disappearing much like the feature phones did once the iPhone was announced.

I agree, but once the technology is in the market an in mass-production, it might not take long to become more mature.
IMO, the typical life of one car (6 to 10 years) will be spent before driver-less technology evolves, matures fully and becomes popular.
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Old 18th August 2016, 15:31   #10
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Please remember, a driverless car can drive itself, but you need extensive infrastructure, extreme road discipline and proper smart city type roads, parking lots etc. You can't dream of all that in this country in next 100 years. It's like Bullet Train capable of 300 kmph can be imported tomorrow but the tracks and infra systems might take 15-20 years!
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Old 18th August 2016, 16:58   #11
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Default re: Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

Self drive cars will take at least 50 years in India if not much more. Also even if they come in it will cost you 5 times the price of a Innova and out of reach of 99.999999...% of the people . Go ahead and buy the Crysta and don't think of it.

Also you cannot trust your family with a driver, you really think you will be able to trust their safety in a driver less car in India ?

Last edited by Altocumulus : 18th August 2016 at 17:03.
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Old 18th August 2016, 17:25   #12
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Default re: Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

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Originally Posted by Altocumulus View Post
Self drive cars will take at least 50 years in India if not much more.
Accepting the spirit of your post and almost agreeing to you !!...... 50 years is huge in technology era....we may see you or other BHPians taking a trip to Moon or Mars by then

And to the original query, you will definitely have a car's lifetime (read 15 years) at least till things change for good in our part of the world. So, go for it. If you can spare the bucks, Crysta is the one!
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Old 18th August 2016, 18:16   #13
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Default re: Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

A self driving car is not going to come to India anytime soon. This is not because the technology is not proven, it is because there are specific circumstances in which self driving cars can operate. In our cities we hardly see people stopping for a traffic light (at least in Ahmedabad) and a self driving car might not be able to cope up with the chaos.
The worst thing that could happen to the future of the technology could be its demise through legislation-what if there's an accident in a self driving car and the Court bans them? Insurance is another big headache for these vehicles. Since a machine is driving it, who will be held responsible in case of an accident? The last time I read something on this, Audi had agreed to insure its autonomous prototypes (which makes sense, because their software runs it).
As for your query about the next car, you could look at the XUV or wait for the Hexa. The updated MU-7 would also be launched soon I think-and that car has lots of space.
The Innova is good, but if you're spending 20+ lakhs on a new car, I think you can get a better perception of luxury in products from other brands.
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Old 18th August 2016, 19:01   #14
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Default re: Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

Given the current situation on the road, I think most of the cars are already driver-less, the person sitting at the wheel being someplace else in his mind.

You are placing your buying decision on something that has infinitesimal chance of occurring in India in next 10 years. The driverless cars - if they arrive at all in India - will face strong opposition from unions and opposing parties (whoever is there at that time) will blame the then government for pulling out jobs out of common man's hands. I think you can plan your visit to mars than waiting for driverless car in India, the former being more probable than the latter.

Meanwhile, out of Innova and Ertiga, it depends completely on budget. Might as well think of it as 2 Ertigas vs 1 Innova!
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Old 18th August 2016, 23:17   #15
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Default re: Buy expensive car now, or save up for a self-driving car?

Uber's self-driving cars will pick up their first customers this month! This will be their first real-world test, although they will still have a human in the driver's seat!

http://www.theverge.com/2016/8/18/12...est-pittsburgh

I guess we won't have to wait long to see how this whole self-driving-cars idea develops!
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