Commentary

Self-Driving Cars: An Industry In Search Of A Market

Advertising in cars may not be just around the corner.

One of the promises of self-driving cars is that advertising or some form of interactions with the would-be drivers and passengers would be appropriate to occupy the time if not the attention of those in the car.

Various entities, including the auto industry and tech companies like Google, are going full speed ahead to create cars that drive themselves.

Meanwhile, consumers are hardly lining up to get one.

A new study by the University of Michigan taking a look at consumer attitudes about such cars found that most people – by a lot – don’t want a car that drives itself.

The study comprised a survey of 618 licensed drivers with demographics matched to the U.S. Census population.

The university conducted the same study a year ago and found that the market has not really changed much over the year.

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While most (84%) consumers don’t want a self-driving car, some (39%) would be OK with a partially self-driving car.

And this is pretty much across the board, since there’s little difference in view by age group.

It’s not only desiring a self-driving car that troubles consumers, most (67%) would be very or moderately concerned about even riding one even if it was the only vehicle available.

On the other side, car makers are moving full speed ahead on embedding more technology inside cars.

For example, Audi is promoting its virtual cockpit, comprising a large LCD screen with an animated instrument cluster.

And BMW is looking at a future where a car parks itself, pulls out of its spot and re-parks in the garage back at home.

And Google continues to add miles to its fleet of autonomous vehicles.

If self-driving cars ever are accepted into the market, the resulting issue will be what a person in the car does while it is being driven by itself.

They could read a book, watch a movie or enjoy the scenery.

Marketers may come up with some other ideas.

5 comments about "Self-Driving Cars: An Industry In Search Of A Market".
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  1. Paul Farah from Paul's Taxi, May 24, 2016 at 11:16 a.m.

    Oh goody.  A great new venue for Google to beam constant advertising at us.  It's a wonder these people aren't trying to hack our dreams so they can beam ads to us while we sleep.


    Seriously though, if they are beaming content (other than music) at us while we are in this automatic car that will further distract the driver in case of emergency.  


    The self-driving car has got to be the engineering arrogance over-reach story of the century.  This is going to be an unmitigated disaster.

  2. Ken Kurtz from creative license, May 24, 2016 at 12:50 p.m.

    Yeah. Disaster. Yes. Arrogant. Indeed. Overreach.

    This line is interesting...

    "While most (84%) consumers don’t want a self-driving car, some (39%) would be OK with a partially self-driving car."

    As I look around on the road today, it appears as though at least 39% think they are already in "self-driving cars." At least, it appears as such, with the vast numbers that are texting, and looking at their computer-phones while "driving."

    More distraction when the SOLE FOCUS should be on operating our vehicles. Yes. Disaster.

  3. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , May 25, 2016 at 2:17 p.m.

    I beleive the U of M findings are a little off.  From the people I know 100% of them, WILL NEVER OWN A SELF DRIVING CAR.  These tech-no brats just want to create stuff cause they can.  The last article  stated that now we don't have to be annoyed by having to "press a button" to open the garage door because the car will do it now.  How stinkin' lazy do we have to be to go for this option.
    I hope these clown car builders run into a brick wall when it comes to consumer acceptance .
    Dumbest idea of the 21st Century

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, May 26, 2016 at 11:59 a.m.

    But at least it will be the market itself that decides, Mark.

  5. Ken Kurtz from creative license, May 27, 2016 at 12:09 p.m.

    Aaaah, Chuck. You make that sound so innocuous.

    But at least it will be the market itself that decides, Mark.

    Surely you are aware that our federal government, lover of terrible ideas, and infatuated with its own ability to piss away taxpayer dollars in its ever-increasing efforts to influence "the market" is already rooting around in my pocket, and yours, to the tune of $4,000,000,000.

    That's right, President Odumba's budget includes $4 billion taxpayer dollars to finance research projects and infrastructure improvements tied to driverless cars.

    Give me a break. This nation's roads and bridges are crumbling before our very eyes, and our "progressive" Prez is diddling in my pants pocket for yet another truly dumb way to inject government oversight into my life.

    Dumb. Dumber. Dumbest.

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