Auto industry leaders say consumer acceptance of AVs is main concern


Ahead of the world’s largest conference and exhibition for future automotive technology, the organizers of TU-Automotive Detroit note that consumer acceptance of autonomous vehicles (AVs) tops the list of concerns for auto industry experts in 2019.

Ahead of the Detroit conference that is taking place on June 4-6 in Novi, Michigan, TU-Automotive has released findings from its latest global survey of more than 100 automotive technology leaders, which reveals that 40% of respondents say they plan to collaborate across the industry to address the issue of consumer acceptance of self-driving technology. Other key findings from the study include that when it comes to identifying the top obstacle getting in the way of widespread adoption of AVs in 2019, 37% of survey respondents listed consumer skepticism and/or fear of AVs and 24% named government and/or industry regulations.

Technology is a lesser issue, as only 10% listed cybersecurity or network connectivity a top concern for widespread adoption, followed by 6% identifying vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications. Other concerns included industry skepticism (7%) and automotive and human interactions (6%). However, in the long term, industry experts believe that consumers will embrace AVs, with over 70% saying they expect widespread consumer acceptance within the next 15 years. The survey’s respondents do not believe that consumers will be widely using personal AVs within the next 10 years; almost 70% stated that they expect car ownership to decrease in the future as consumers instead take advantage of autonomous public transport and ridesharing.

The challenge is in pushing this timeline forward, as experts believe that acceptance will come with benefits including decreasing traffic congestion (44%) and the reduction of miles driven due to people taking advantage of a connected transportation ecosystem (34%). When asked which hurdles they planned to collaborate on with other industry leaders, consumer fears around autonomous driving was again top of the list, with 38% citing it as an important area for industry collaboration and working with local governments to craft intelligent laws for autonomous driving (27%) came in second.

In terms of collaborating on technology, respondents ranked sharing road hazards and conditions in real-time (25%) as the most critical to supporting the further development of the industry, followed by sharing details of crashes where AVs were at fault for industry learning (15%), agreeing on an industry-wide autonomous HD map standard (13%) and sharing HD map information to increase geographical coverage for the whole ecosystem (12%).

“For many in the automotive industry, the concern isn’t about if some level of autonomous driving will be ready for widespread consumer use in the relatively near future; it’s more about if consumers are ready to accept it,” said Kelly Grant, director at TU-Automotive. “Once consumers are comfortable hailing their autonomous rideshare vehicle, riding in the automated public transit bus and driving next to the driverless truck on the highway, we are likely to see greater public support to further expand the use of autonomous vehicles so that we can better take advantage of their benefits.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.