Almost half of all consumers believe fully functional self-driving cars are more than three years away, and nearly 20% would be willing to pay an additional $10,000 to get their hands on this technology, according to a survey of US, UK, and German consumers conducted by Klas.
Consumers across all 3 markets are interested in the convenience autonomous vehicles will deliver, with over 25% of respondents saying they're excited about the potential for self-driving vehicles to run their errands and deliver groceries right to their home, and 22% saying they believe adoption of autonomous vehicles will increase human productivity and be more environmentally friendly.
Klas also found that almost 30% of British and German respondents are looking forward to not having to park their own cars again with convenient AV drop-off and pick-up, while Americans are hoping to see fewer accidents on the road with the implementation of autonomous vehicles.
While the survey results clearly indicate widespread consumer interest in self-driving cars, it also shows there are several hurdles vehicle makers will need to overcome to win over the general public. Over a fifth of consumers across all three markets are concerned AVs won't know how to avoid unexpected obstacles in the road, and roughly 20% are worried about the vehicle's system malfunctioning during traffic. Germans are particularly worried about software security, with 22% expressing concerns about AVs getting hacked.
Additionally, 20% of all respondents said they believe fully self-driving cars are already available for the general public to operate or travel in, with that number increasing to 31% when you look at Americans only. This shows there is a clear gap between knowledge of autonomous vehicles and an understanding of the technology's current capabilities, which is another area in which carmarkers need to educate the public.
Industry stakeholders like Ford, Tesla, BMW, and Volkswagen are all racing towards fully autonomous vehicles, through partnerships with companies like Dell, Intel, Klas, and Nvidia, while vendors like Bosch, Continental, and Mobileye are working on introducing self-driving additions for consumers to purchase. There's a clear market opportunity for those add-ons, with more than a third (35%) of consumers across all regions saying they'd be willing to pay more than $10,000 for self-driving capabilities. Each geographic region has its own government regulations and test requirements, creating niche opportunities and complexities to the transition from testing to mass-market production. Despite the innovation and high-profile work of these key players, the survey results indicate consumers are largely unaware of who they are, with only about 20% of consumers across all geographies saying they know brands such as Mobileye, Aptiv, or Nvidia.
John Gallagher, CEO of Klas, said, "The Klas commissioned AV consumer sentiment survey shows there is a misalignment with consumer expectations and AV development timelines. While the respondents are eager to experience autonomous driving, consumers have major concerns about the technology".
Gallagher continued, "Nearly a quarter of respondents indicated concerns that vehicles wouldn't know how to avoid unexpected obstacles in the road. The result is that AV developers need to continuously evolve and assess autonomous drive systems with real-world scenarios, with results being made transparent to the public. Transparency not only demonstrates the AV developer's commitment to safety but aligns to the evidence-based regulations coming down the road."