Consumer excitement about autonomous vehicles growing, suggests report

New consumer research has found that the proportion of people who would prefer to ride in a self-driving car over a traditional vehicle is set to double within the next five years.

The study from the Capgemini Research Institute – The Autonomous Car: A Consumer Perspective – found that while only a quarter of consumers (25%) say they would choose a driverless car ride over one in a traditional vehicle in a year’s time, more than half (52%) say self-driving cars will be their preferred mode of transport by 2024.

“Our report shows a high level of optimism and excitement among potential autonomous vehicle users.”

Markus Winkler, Capgemini

The institute’s report suggests that consumers see huge benefits from autonomous vehicles, including fuel efficiency (73%), reduced emissions (71%) and the ability to save time (50%). As a result, found the research, more than half of those questioned (56%) say they would be willing to pay up to 20% more for an autonomous vehicle.

As autonomous vehicles become more widespread, consumers expect them to play a larger role in their daily lives, in addition to driving. Nearly half of those questioned (49%) say they would be comfortable with a self-driving car running an errand on their behalf, while just over half (54%) say they would trust an autonomous vehicle to give a lift to non-driving friends or family members.

According to the research, consumers also expect self-driving vehicles to save them time. Half of those questioned (50%) believe that autonomous vehicles will free up time for them to pursue other activities, from socialising and entertainment to working on the move – or simply enjoying their journey.

“Our report shows a high level of optimism and excitement among potential autonomous vehicle users,” said Markus Winkler, Capgemini’s Global Head of Automotive.

“Most conversation to date has focused on the technological evolution of driverless cars – so it’s hugely encouraging to see the potential benefits that the technology enables are resonating with future passengers.

“Customer expectations of in-car experiences will not only impact the automotive industry but other industries like media and entertainment, retail, and healthcare as well, paving the way for a plethora of collaborative business opportunities.”

At the same time, found the study, consumer barriers to adoption remain. A majority of those questioned said that their purchase or adoption of a driverless vehicle would be dependent on vehicle security (73%) and system security (72%).

“A degree of uncertainty and concern remains, and auto companies must consider the expectations and fears of their future customers while transforming their own operations from a heavy product focus to services and customer orientation, as they bring autonomous vehicles to the market,” said Winkler. 

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