LeBron James is the self-driving car's new MVP

October 11, 2017

Computing titan Intel has been making plenty of waves lately in the self-driving car world, from acquiring autonomous tech company MobileEye, to partnering with Google spinoff Waymo, and FCA and BMW. Now, in an effort to make the emerging technology more familiar, it’s launching an ad featuring NBA star LeBron James as a passenger in an Intel-powered self-driving car.

The 30-second slot, titled “Fearless,” depicts a skeptical James climbing into a self-driving car, then being won-over by the technology and proclaiming that he wants to keep it for himself. Members of his entourage make sure to point out that the car—no doubt featuring Mobileye sensors—can see “like 80 times better than you do.”

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The spot is the latest salvo in Intel’s ongoing campaign to built trust in autonomous vehicle technologies. This past summer, Intel said it was looking into “trust interactions”—crucial psychological markers that a vehicle must have that establish a good rapport with human occupants.

According to Matt Yurdana, a user experience creative director within Intel’s Automated Driving Solutions group, “The idea of autonomous vehicles is as much a human and social challenge as it is a technological challenge.”

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Yurdana’s team invited civilians to ride in a self-driving vehicle in Chandler, Arizona earlier this year. While some were nervous, the team concluded that it was simply because they didn’t know what to expect.

“Understanding how the technology functioned and its full capabilities was paramount to participants.” Intel said about the study in a blog post. “Experiencing how the vehicle could communicate, respond to road hazards and simply handle the drive helped boost people’s confidence.”

Sounds an awful lot like LeBron’s ride.

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