Many automotive firms and even technical firms like Apple and Google are engaged in the race to develop self-driving vehicles, but are customers interested in riding them once they are developed?
Researchers surveyed 1,519 consumers as part of the Gartner Consumer Trends in Automotive study, and 55 percent of respondents said that they were not willing to ride in a fully autonomous vehicle. Almost 50 per cent said that they would not give up their own vehicle, even if they would save 75 percent of the costs linked to car ownership.
Commenting on the results of the study, Mike Ramsey, research director at Gartner, said in a statement that consumers fear that autonomous vehicles would be confused by complex and unexpected road scenarios, they have safety concerns about failure of equipment and systems and are also concerned about vehicle and system security when it comes to the usage of fully autonomous vehicles.
The participants in the survey were fully aware that autonomous vehicles can have a number of benefits like lower probability of being involved in accidents, better fuel economy, and the availability of free time while travelling for work and entertainment, and the ability to use such cars even when tired as they need minimal driver involvement.
Earlier this year, AAA conducted a study in which 75 percent of the respondents said that they would be afraid to ride in a vehicle that is fully automated. Only half of the participants said that they would feel safe sharing the road with an automated car.
“A great race towards autonomy is underway, and companies are vying to introduce the first driverless cars to our roadways,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering and industry relations. “However, while U.S. drivers are eager to buy vehicles equipped with autonomous technology, they continue to fear a fully self-driving vehicle.”
This kind of feedback from consumers should serve as food for thought to automotive companies who are aggressively pursuing the development of self-driving technology, investing millions of dollars in research and development. They can either slow down their efforts till this technology gains wider consumer acceptance or opt to educate consumers on the benefits of such technology.
In the Gartner study, 71 percent of those surveyed said they would not mind riding in vehicle that is partially autonomous. Safety features like lane keeping assist, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control are gaining wide acceptance and this might be the path to follow, slowly introducing such technologies in the runup to the launch of fully automated vehicles.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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