Yanks not ready for robots
Six in 10 Americans don’t think they’ll see roads filled with autonomous cars in their lifetime
WITH new vehicle technologies being reported every day, autonomous (or selfdriving) vehicles are capturing the attention of the automotive industry, consumers, dealers and developers alike.
However, new research from Kelley Blue Book reveals that Americans are most comfortable with the vehicles currently on the road today, believing that they are significantly safer than models with a higher level of autonomy.
This is just one of many interesting findings of the recent 2016 Kelley Blue Book Future Autonomous Vehicle Driver Study, released on September 30 by Kelley Blue Book in the U.S.
The vehicle valuators commissioned the national study to understand current consumer perceptions and misconceptions of autonomous vehicles overall and by each level of autonomy.
The survey found consumers are torn between the need for safety and the desire for control, with 51% of respondents replying that they prefer to have full control of their vehicle, even if it’s not as safe for other drivers, while 49% prefer to have a safer roadway for all, even if that means they have less control over their own vehicle.
There are six levels of vehicle autonomy identified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), from Level 0 (human-only control) to Level 5 (no human driver).
According to the survey, awareness of the higher levels of vehicle autonomy is limited, with six out of 10 respondents admitting that they know little or nothing about autonomous vehicles. For half of the survey respondents, the perception of safety and personal comfort with autonomous technology diminished as the level of autonomy increased.
When survey respondents were asked to make a choice between the different levels, Level 4 autonomy hits the “sweet spot” by providing all the benefits of full vehicle autonomy without stripping away the option of driver control.
This is not surprising, considering 80% of respondents believe that people should always have the option to drive themselves, and 64% prefer to be in control of their vehicles. In fact, most consumers (62%) do not think they will live to see a world where all vehicles are fully autonomous.
If vehicles at all levels of autonomy were available by 2020, 59% of consumers would be likely to purchase a Level 3 or higher autonomous vehicle that is capable of driving itself for extended periods of time.
Not surprisingly, the study found that most young Americans, the so-called Gen Z between 12 and 15 years old, say they are ready to get on board and believe they will see fully autonomous vehicles in their lifetime.
More importantly, six in 10 of their parents, the 25- to 34-year-old Millennials who have actual purchasing power today, report they would feel safe in a robot car.
Nine in 10 of their grandparents, the 51- to 64-year-old Baby Boomers are not, however, keen on letting the robot take the steering wheel out of their hands.
The majority of the 2 200 Americans surveyed, (63%) believe that roadways would be safer if autonomous vehicles were standard; however, 37% think that roadways are safer with vehicles operated by people.
In addition, 60% of respondents would share their vehicle information for more efficient roadways, while 40% prefer to keep their travels private.
Only two in 10 Americans are ready for a future of robot transport like the Olli bus, currently on test in Washington DC and one of several similar buses being tested around the world.