Consumers willing to pay extra for autonomous driving features, finds new report

Fully autonomous and connected vehicles promise a number of benefits when they hit the streets. But one likely challenge for the industry rests in the additional cost of the technologies and sensors required for safe autonomous driving.

In some positive news for manufacturers, a new study has found that four out of five consumers (81%) say they would be willing to pay extra for autonomous driving features – a figure helped by the use of assisted driving functionality in a growing number of today’s cars.

The study by consultancy Capgemini – Cars Online 2017: Beyond the Car – found that with consumers already enthusiastic about advanced driver assistance systems, they are now looking forward to autonomous driving and its potential to increase safety and reduce driving stress.

Interestingly, consumers in emerging markets such as China, Brazil and India are more positive about the benefits of autonomous driving than their peers in the mature markets of Italy, France, Germany, the UK and the US, found the research.

The study also found that consumer trust in autonomous vehicles is split between ‘established’ car manufacturers and new ‘tech’ company players. Half of consumers (51%) say that they would have more trust in car manufacturers producing a car with autonomous capabilities than in one produced by a technology firm.

What price safety?

A separate study earlier this year found that consumers are more willing to pay for autonomous driving technologies that offer advanced safety features, than those that offer connectivity and cockpit convenience features.

In addition to its autonomous vehicle findings, Capgemini’s research, conducted among more than 8,000 consumers, found that a third of car buyers (34%) now see ride-sharing and ‘tap and ride’ services as a genuine alternative to car ownership. However, more than half of those questioned (56%) see car hailing and ride-sharing services as complementary to buying a new car.

“We are currently experiencing a golden age of car sales, however it’s clear that this won’t last forever in its current form,” said Kai Grambow, Global Head of Automotive at Capgemini. “Car brands are realising they need to react to changing consumer habits to sustain growth.

“Becoming leaders in car sharing and the broader mobility space will not just create new revenue streams for car manufacturers, but will also allow brands to raise awareness and establish a new kind of relationship with consumers as they decide on their next model to purchase.”