Self-driving vehicle survey suggests need for better consumer information

A new Australian survey into consumer attitudes towards self-driving cars has found that the majority of respondents have very little or no knowledge about self-driving vehicles.

The results suggest that manufacturers and policymakers should do more to raise awareness about self-driving vehicles and their features and benefits, said Victorian freeway operator EastLink, which conducted the poll.

“The majority of respondents say they have very little or no knowledge of self-driving cars,” said EastLink spokesperson Doug Spencer-Roy.

“With self-driving features such as lane keeping assistance and self-parking already available in the latest production cars from an increasing number of manufacturers and at lower price points, it’s clear that more and better information needs to be provided to Victorian motorists.”

Although hands-free driving is not yet available on Victorian freeways, the poll found that one in three respondents would like this feature in their next car, while more than half would like lane keeping assistance technologies.

In addition, found the poll, the majority of those questioned would like their next car to be connected to a data network to receive warnings about traffic and road conditions, to aid vehicle security and to trigger emergency assistance automatically.

“Even though hands-free driving on our freeways and tollways is not yet available, the survey shows that one in three respondents already want this feature in their next car. We expect this demand to grow further as awareness of self-driving cars increases,” said Spencer-Roy.

EastLink is conducting a trial with partners including the Australian Road Research Board and La Trobe University to test how cars with driver assistance technologies can interact with existing road infrastructure on Melbourne’s motorways.