Seven out of 10 consumers believe that autonomous cars will be able to drive better than humans or will surpass human abilities by 2029, according to a new global survey.
The research, the ANSYS Global Autonomous Vehicles Report, commissioned by engineering simulation firm ANSYS, found that consumers have high expectations for autonomous vehicle capabilities and that nearly four-fifths (77%) would be comfortable riding in an autonomous car at some point during their lifetime.
Japanese consumers were more confident in autonomous vehicles than the global average, with 83% believing autonomous cars will be better drivers than humans within a decade, and more than a third (38%) believing they already are.
Meanwhile, Chinese consumers were most open (97%) to riding in an autonomous car during their lifetime, compared to just 57% of respondents from the UK.
Attitudes to autonomous vehicles also vary with age, found the research. Among 18- to 24-year-old respondents, 87% reported that they would feel comfortable with autonomous cars in their lifetime, while 88% of 25- to 34-year-old respondents said the same. However, this figure fell to just 43% among respondents over the age of 65.
"Automated driving has been a dream of engineers and travelers since at least the 1950s, but the hardware and software required to make it a practical reality has only approached a sufficient level of maturity in the past decade," said Sam Abuelsamid, principal research analyst at Navigant Research.
“For automated driving to become a commercial reality that people trust for safe transportation, consumers will need to be convinced that algorithms can consistently drive more reliably than humans. That will require vast amounts of simulation testing to augment hundreds of millions of miles of real-world, on-road evaluation."
Eric Bantegnie, vice president and general manager of the systems business unit at ANSYS, said: “We are at the threshold of a fully autonomous era that will revolutionize global transportation. This report confirms the world's optimism – but also legitimate concerns – for AVs.
“To drive worldwide AV adoption, manufacturers must prove the technology is safer and more reliable than humans.”