Self-driving cars may have to wrestle the wheel from us

by | Sep 10, 2019 | 0 comments

An international study of 20,000 new car buyers from 10 countries has found that people aren’t quite ready to hand over the wheel to self-driving cars, regardless of the technology push to get there.

Ipsos, the world-leading research and insights organization, explored consumer thoughts in its third annual Global Mobility Navigator Syndicated Study. The study is comprised of three modules, with the first focusing on Autonomous Driving. The newly released module contains results from over 20,000 new car buyers from 10 countries.

Technology and its constant advancements are always reshaping our world. This is evident in the way we live, work, interact and drive. Automakers are especially quick to adapt and incorporate new technology into their vehicles with consumers’ needs in mind.

However, like most relationships, automakers and drivers are not always on the same page when it comes to needs and wants.

Todd Markusic, Vice President, Ipsos Mobility, said the Global Mobility Navigator Syndicated Study uncovered interesting insights on how drivers truly feel about self-driving cars.

“The study confirms new car buyers are simply not ready to hand over the driving responsibilities to their vehicle, even for a short amount of time.

“A key and possibly overlooked revelation is that almost 70% of new car buyers simply enjoy driving. They have spent a lot of money on their vehicle and want to drive it. That is the feature.”

But while there are enjoyment factors to consider in the autonomous future, there are also safety concerns for consumers. The study revealed one is pedestrian safety as well as other vehicles, while the driver’s own safety is a slightly lower concern.

Meanwhile, if a driver did use the autonomous mode, 44% state they would still remain focused on the road. This implies a tremendous lack of trust in the system’s ability to safely self-drive. Another big worry for consumers is the security of the vehicle’s data.

A strong concern was the possibility of someone hacking into their self-driving system and causing an accident.

The auto industry is also battling an awareness issue with the new technology. Globally, only 15% said they knew a fair amount about Autonomous mode. Markusic indicated only 10% of American vehicle owners have experienced this feature.

“Getting vehicle owners to actually experience how good these systems truly are would have a tremendous impact on changing consumer perception relative to autonomous. Meanwhile, only 30% of new car buyers in the U.S. have a positive opinion of the Autonomous Mode feature and only 25% would consider the feature in their next vehicle.”

The study revealed there are connected car features drivers would be interested in today. In a list of 16, the top-rated selection was the Accident Avoidance feature. This would automatically apply the brakes and steer a vehicle away from obstacles in an accident. The study also uncovered a strong correlation between interest in a feature and willingness to pay.

The Ipsos Mobility Navigator Study was designed to provide a long-term view of trends and how consumers view all topics related to the future of mobility. Module two and three will focus on Electrification and Shared Mobility

Ipsos Mobility Navigator Study 2019 – Autonomous

Key Findings:

  • Roughly half of new car buyers have some familiarity with autonomous/self-driving mode; Familiarity highest in China and Japan.
  • On a global basis, 36% would consider a vehicle with autonomous mode however, only 12% would Definitely Consider.
  • If given the choice, only 6% of new car buyers would purchase a fully autonomous vehicle while the majority (57%) would purchase a vehicle with an autonomous mode and 37% would just purchase a standard vehicle.
  • The earliest consumers expect to see autonomous vehicles in their country is in 2023.
  • Companies such as Tesla, BMW, and Toyota are considered most likely to build a safe and reliable Autonomous Driving Vehicle in the next five years.


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