America is a car culture. The saying goes, in Europe 100 miles is a long distance whereas in America 100 years is a long time.

With a heritage of continental exploration and frontier expansion, it is no surprise that Americans embraced the automobile in a way no one else did. It inhabits our movies, our music. Everyone except millennials has a road trip soundtrack. Life is a highway, Route 66, and more.

But a change is coming. For the health of everyone, automated cars are on the way. Future generations may see steering wheels as a quaint inconvenience that interferes with their work or napping or social media use during their morning ride to work, they may not wish to own a car at all.

Will music be about relaxing and reading while a robot takes the wheel? Or will road music be gone forever? In the International Journal of Technology Marketing, Erik Olson of the BI Norwegian Business School, in Oslo, Norway, discusses the implications of self-driving vehicle technology on consumer brand equity and relationships.

"The freedom, fun, status, and utility that the automobile provides consumers have made it one of the most widely adopted and loved products of all time, and this emotional attachment is reflected in the popular song lyrics" explains Olson. From The Beach Boys singing about drag racing their little Deuce Coupe to Janis Joplin beseeching The Lord to buy her a Mercedes-Benz, "No other man-made product has been the subject of as many popular 'love songs' as the automobile and its brands, with Chevrolet alone mentioned in more than 100 popular songs," Olson adds.

Citation: Olson, E.L. (2017) 'Will songs be written about autonomous cars? The implications of self-driving vehicle technology on consumer brand equity and relationships', Int. J. Technology Marketing, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp.23-41.