Consumer confidence in autonomous vehicles remain low, despite tech innovations

J.D Power has released the results of a study conducted to understand consumer sentiments about self-driving vehicles.

Key findings of the 2019 Q3 Mobility Confidence Index Study include:

  • Consumer confidence for self-driving vehicles remains low: The overall score for consumer confidence hit 36, remains low, with segments scoring lowest among the self-driving attributes include comfort riding in a self-driving vehicle and comfort with self-driving public transit.
  • Men are more comfortable with self-driving technology than women: 68% of surveyed consumers have little to no knowledge about self-driving vehicles. Just above 50% are unlikely to ever purchase or lease a self-driving vehicle. Only half as many women express having a “great deal” or “fair amount” of knowledge on the subject compared with men and they’re also less likely than men to purchase or lease a self-driving vehicle.
  • Perfecting self-driving technology is proving more challenging than originally thought.
  • Job displacement and computer error are perceived as the greatest disadvantages of self-driving vehicles. 38% of survey participants remain unexcited about any self-driving technology and 71% are most worried about technology failure.
  • Consumer confidence remains neutral for battery-electric vehicles: With an overall score of 55, confidence about the future of battery-electric vehicles remains neutral. Attributes scoring lowest include the likelihood of purchasing an electric vehicle and reliability of electric compared to gas-powered vehicles.
  • Consumer affordability and trust remain the top challenges for battery-electric vehicle acceptance.
  • 60% of consumers who have owned a battery-electric vehicle are “extremely likely” or “very likely” to repurchase a similar vehicle

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Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and human-machine interface research at J.D. Power, said: “It was a little surprising to find consumer sentiment about self-driving vehicles and electrification has stayed flat, but it shows that consumers are really steadfast in their opinions about new mobility technologies right now, regardless of how close they are to be available for purchase.

“This isn’t necessarily bad news for automakers; rather, it shows the areas where consumers need to be better-educated and gives manufacturers the chance to correct their course on the path to eventual production.

“Charging, cost and range are unavoidable challenges for battery-electric vehicles when compared with traditional vehicles.

 “Automakers should focus as much on developing some overriding advantages instead of just working on minimizing the disadvantages. Consumers don’t know what to ask for but there are all sorts of possibilities. The first automakers to solve this will have a huge advantage.”

More than 5,000 consumers and industry experts were surveyed about self-driving vehicles and another 5,000 were surveyed about battery-electric vehicles.