When will we have a fully autonomous world, Sheila Nedelcu?

Anja Hendel
3 min readMay 14, 2021


A world full of autonomous driving vehicles has often been predicted in the past. In their forecasts, experts painted a picture of our cities, highways, and traffic routes with driverless vehicles. Back in 2015, The Guardian claimed that we will have self-driving cars for consumers by 2020. But today, this is far from being a reality for everyone.

Autonomous driving is one of the most discussed megatrends in the industry. Our debates revolve around the latest technologies such as machine learning and high-speed data processing. However, what is often forgotten alongside the enthusiasm for the key technology of artificial intelligence (AI) is the importance of maps.

Maps are no longer just for navigation; they need to be dynamic and built with enough detail to meaningfully enhance a vehicle’s vision. In the new episode of my podcast “Deep Dive Mobility”, Sheila Nedelcu, Senior Director Automotive Products at HERE Technologies, tells me how the company enables its vision of an autonomous world for everyone. The leading location intelligence and technology platform company provides location data, tools, and services to provide better real-life outcomes. The maps by HERE are used in over 150 million vehicles worldwide.

Making transportation stress-free and safer

If we want to get from A to B today, the main question is, how we can cover this distance as quickly as possible. Before the pandemic, the issue dominated the lives of many people, for example, in their daily commute to work or their transportation around the city.

Travel time in the car is thus perceived by many people as stress and as a loss of time. Sheila tells me about her exciting vision to change this status quo — for each of us. Because autonomous driving can not only take the burden of driving off us, but it can also give us time back, reduce stress, and at the same time ensure we get to our destination more safely.

So, in a world of autonomous driving, we get more autonomy again. The new technology thereby redefines our use of time as Sheila is convinced. If you don’t have to drive your car yourself, you can get the most out of your time — be it for entertainment or relaxation. This megatrend will not only change the automotive industry but will also bring disruptive changes to many sectors and industries, such as logistics or the hotel industry.

We can already see examples of autonomous vehicles in practice — on university campuses or in senior citizen facilities. But why is it that we don’t yet see queues of autonomous trucks on highways? Sheila is confident that we will see this in the future but initially in the form of different levels of autonomy. However, there is still a long way to go until we have a fully autonomous world.

Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash

The conversation with Sheila now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts & Co.

The conversation with Sheila showed me what lies behind the megatrend and the various possibilities that autonomous driving already offers us today. You can now find the interview on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

What do you think of Sheila’s impulses? I look forward to exchanging ideas with you!



Anja Hendel

Managing Director @ diconium | #Innovation #DigitalTransformation #Mobility | How do we transfer the successful German art of engineering into the digital age?