If autonomous vehicles still feel like they are somewhere in the distant future, latest research shows consumers are eagerly awaiting their arrival.
Capgemini’s research ‘The Autonomous Car: A Consumer’s Perspective’ shows one in two consumers would opt for self-driving cars in the next five years.
The report argues dealers need to start thinking about the services they can offer including software and customer communications around self-driving vehicles.
Only a quarter (25%) of consumers would prefer to travel in a self-driving car rather than a conventional vehicle in 12 months’ time, but fast forward to 2024 and more than half (52%) would choose driverless cars.
The report found consumers were considering a whole host of reasons for their positive reaction to self-driving vehicles including 73% who cited fuel efficiency, reduced emissions was highlighted by 71% and saving time was important for 50%.
The research found consumers believed an autonomous vehicle would play a bigger role in their lives than a regular car including running errands. Almost half (49%) said they would feel comfortable with self-driving cars running an errand on their behalf; more than half (54%) would be happy for an autonomous vehicle to drop off or pick up non-driving friends and family; and as such half (50%) expect self-driving cars would help them free up time for socialising, entertainment, working, or simply enjoying the journey.
Interestingly, more than half of consumers (56%) were prepared to pay up to 20% more for an autonomous vehicle over a standard one. Barriers do exist though, and these include vehicle security, a concern for 73% with 72% saying system security would be a worry.
Robotics Business Review’s take on the report highlighted additional issues highlighted by consumers. More than half (56%) feared difficulties when autonomous cars interact with human-driven vehicles and 46% thought there could be problems interacting with other self-driving vehicles. In addition, 51% thought there would be issues with new traffic rules and 37% foresaw obstacles when learning to use autonomous vehicles.
The list of activities which consumers imagined they would engage in whilst using a self-driving vehicle was illuminating and perhaps offers an insight into why they could be so popular:-
- Listen to music (76%)
- Catch up with friends and family travelling in the same car (64%)
- Text or call friends or family (63%)
- Catch up on news and current affairs (62%)
- Eat a meal or snack (58%)
- Disconnect from digital tools and enjoy the ride and the roads (58%)
- Watch movies / TV series (54%)
- Read a book (52%)
- Do calendar planning (46%)
- Shop online (46%)
- Sleep (45%)
The Capgemini findings were echoed in CarGurus’ ‘Second Annual Self-Driving Car Sentiment Survey’ which saw consumer confidence and willingness to embrace self-driving cars increase substantially.
Almost a third (32%) said they were excited about self-driving vehicles compared to 21% last year whilst concerns reduced from 47% in 2018 to 37%. Meanwhile, 35% of people who use services like Uber would be happy if an autonomous vehicle was sent.
Euro NCAP’s consumer survey, however, found more than 70% of car drivers believe that it is already possible to purchase a car that can drive itself.
The #TestingAutomation consumer survey commissioned by Euro NCAP, Global NCAP and Thatcham Research to coincide with the first time ADAS equipment featured in Euro NCAP safety tests, reflects a high level of confusion among consumers highlighting the need for education from the sector to its customers.
The Capgemini Research Institute questioned 5,538 consumers across six countries in Europe, North America, and Asia in December 2018, 280 executives from OEMs, suppliers, and tech companies were also surveyed. Capgemini also conducted interviews with industry leaders, examining what consumers want from self-driving cars and how organisations can facilitate them.