Study: Consumers Remain Skeptical of Autonomous Vehicles

Jan. 17, 2017

Jan. 17, 2017—Consulting firm Deloitte recently released a report from which it gauged consumer attitudes on self-driving cars, advanced safety, powertrain systems and cockpit technologies, along with their willingness to pay for these features.

Trust appears to be the biggest roadblock to selling the notion of self-driving cars in every country surveyed. Three-quarters of U.S. consumers surveyed (74 percent) believe fully autonomous vehicles will not be safe.

Deloitte surveyed 17 countries and the report, "What's ahead for fully autonomous driving: Consumer opinions on advanced vehicle technology," features key insights from consumers in the U.S., Germany, Japan, South Korea, China and India.

Approximately 68 percent of Americans say they would change their opinion with a proven track record for such vehicles and 54 percent of U.S. drivers say they would ride in an autonomous car if it was offered by a brand they trust.

In the U.S., less than half of consumers (47 percent) trust a traditional car manufacturer to bring autonomous vehicles to market.

Only 20 percent of U.S. consumers indicated they trust tech companies when it comes to autonomous vehicle technology. Twenty-seven percent of U.S. consumers indicate they would trust a new company specializing in autonomous vehicle technology. Japanese consumers (76 percent) have the greatest trust in a traditional car manufacturer to bring fully autonomous vehicles to market. China and India have the lowest trust in traditional car manufacturers at 27 percent and 34 percent, respectively. South Korea was next with 44 percent of consumers who trust a traditional car manufacturer, followed by the U.S. at 47 percent, Germany at 51 percent and finally Japan at 76 percent.

"To win consumers' trust, automakers will need to integrate limited self-driving and advanced-safety features into new product offerings steadily over time to introduce people to the technology, demonstrate the improvement for vehicle safety and develop a proven track record," said Craig Giffi, vice chairman and U.S. automotive industry leader, Deloitte LLP, and co-author of the report.

The four predictive safety capabilities that were most wanted by consumers are those that recognize objects on a road to avoid collision, inform the driver of dangerous driving situations or block them from one, or can assist in a medical emergency or accident.

The least useful safety features are features that provide customized entertainment, or many forms of cockpit connectivity including notifications when places of interest are near. This also includes features that manage daily activities such as: locating, reserving and automatically paying for parking or paying for tolls; connectivity allowing a driver to control automated home systems; and enabling the use of personal smartphone applications through the vehicle dashboard.

The amount Americans are willing to spend on advanced automotive technologies dropped by 32 percent to $925 from Deloitte's 2014 study when it averaged $1,370 across five technology categories.

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