Are Consumers Really Ready For Self-Driving Cars?

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

While most automakers are racing towards autonomous cars, there is one big question that remains unanswered in this respect – are consumers really prepared to accept autonomous vehicles? As per a recent study made by University of Michigan, maximum automotive consumers in United States feel skeptical about driving autonomous cars. It is a very critical conclusion that brings up a large gap between the end-users and industry’s dream of futuristic cars. In last year, numerous automakers revealed their plans and efforts that are being made by their R&D team in this direction. Tesla Motors came up with its Autopilot for autonomous driving over expressways, the announcement came in wake of Toyota’s pledge to invest one billion dollars for its latest research project that will soon start in the Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, Ford Motor also revealed its plans about increasing the strength of their engineer’s team by three times that will begin their work on autonomous cars.

Auto manufacturers all over the world are putting in huge sums of money to hire software engineers or startups that can give them their answers related to self-driving cars. General Motors recently purchased Cruise Automation for a whooping amount of $1 billion which is ten times the valuation of startup’s valuation. It gave the final proof of blind inclination automakers have towards self-driving cars. This has also increased the importance of chip manufacturers in automotive industry. Companies like Movidius, Nvidia, Siemens, and NXP Semiconductors are busy in making hi-tech computers that can receive and process all kind of machine learning algorithms and sensor data that can change the way cars behave on roads.

But all this hoopla hasn’t included the consumers’ interests and anticipations in this. A major class of consumers’ remains worried about the vehicles that can drive all by themselves on road and take all decision without taking consent of drivers. About 85 per cent of consumers feel concerned and around 46 per cent of them prefer to have partial control over the car. There were only 15 per cent of drivers who were ready to give complete control of steering to a machine. As Brandon Schoettle, a fellow researcher likes to add, “Overall public opinion has been remarkably consistent over the two years that this survey has been conducted, despite the increased media coverage of self-driving vehicles.”

As per the author of this study, the results of study made this year are completely identical with that conducted last year. It shows the reluctance of common people towards this form of auto-driving. The results were further confirmed by a recent survey results released by American Automobile Association which dictates that three out of every four buyers are scared to handle the autonomous vehicles. As per all these reports, consumers will need lot of time in getting used to the concept of autonomous-driving technologies. Toyota, is one of the most vigilant companies that is focusing on the safety features of its autonomous car that will make self-driving car a more reliable option and help the drivers in developing their belief in such cars.