Commentary

Connected Car Owners Would Not Buy A Self-Driving Car

While Google, Apple, Uber and most major automakers are steaming ahead to create driverless cars, the majority of consumers would not buy one even if cost was not an issue.

Even if they do not own a fully autonomous vehicle, most U.S. drivers would be afraid to even ride in one.

Consumer research relating to connected cars continues to show that autonomous cars are of relatively low interest to most consumers.

A study out today shows that the majority (57%) of people who currently own a connected car would not buy a self-driving car even if cost was not an issue.

The study comprised a survey of 1,500 connected car drivers weighted against U.S. Census Bureau data and conducted by Solace. Those surveyed own a car with connected device features, such as Bluetooth connectivity, GPS navigation, remote door locks, WiFi, backup camera/sensor or voice assistance.

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This follows an earlier AAA survey showing that 63% of U.S. drivers are afraid to even get into a self-driving vehicle.

However, many consumers see value in various connected features in cars. Consumers in the Solace study said the connected car alerts they would rely on are safety sensors for blind spot detection (49%), navigation prompts (35%), safety recalls (27%) and incoming mobile device activity (15%).

The most valuable connected feature for driving was deemed to be real-time navigation.

When they drive, most consumers use an average of one to two applications, such as music streaming or hands-free calling.

One issue identified in the study related to data. Nearly half (48%) of car owners were not aware that connected cars can store personal identifiable personal information, such as home address, social security numbers and birthdays.

Among the top six car brands, there was no clear leader of which had the most innovative technology features.

Interestingly, 62% of connected car drivers believe their connected cars help them drive safer, but 40% won’t trust their car to brake for them.

The interesting marketing challenge ahead will be to change consumer attitudes toward fully autonomous vehicles. It will be interesting to see the size of that marketing budget.

14 comments about "Connected Car Owners Would Not Buy A Self-Driving Car".
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  1. Raoul Didisheim from Didisheim Consulting, February 22, 2018 at 2:47 p.m.

    I'm sure people said the same thing about flying through the sky like a bird

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, February 22, 2018 at 3:19 p.m.

    That may be the case, Raoul, especially since most people have never even seen a self-driving vehicle on the road.

  3. Ken Kurtz from creative license, February 22, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.

    Duh. People will not buy self-driving cars. 

    Why would they, when they can pay less for a car, and drive it themselves? The "driving" part has always been the fun part.

    Not sure what part of "I'll pay more for a car that doesn't allow me the fun of driving it, and will leave me entirely unconcerned about my death when it runs me smack into an 18-wheeler when its technology fails (as it invariably will) because I'll be doing my nails in the backseat" could have ever computed with anybody.

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, February 22, 2018 at 4:36 p.m.

    Yes, there is that quite significant issue, Kennny. In the study, about 20% said they would buy one, if money was not an object. No word from anyone on what these may ultimately cost, but they all need Lidar so far.

  5. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, February 22, 2018 at 6:31 p.m.

    People will buy whatever the insurance companies and government safety agencies deem prudent. Drivers didn't want to pay extra for airbags but got them anyway. All other things being equal, driverless cars are safer than cars with drivers. Computers are never sleepy or drunk or angry when they drive. Even with inevitable errors, fewer lives will be lost and less property damage will accrue. If you want to drive yourself, then get ready to pay more for auto insurance and prepare to be protected from yourself by big government. 

  6. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, February 22, 2018 at 7:25 p.m.

    You are correct, Douglas, market forces can be used to change behavior. The tough part will be the transition period.

  7. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , February 22, 2018 at 7:49 p.m.

    triple AAA members who drive their cars, are as impassioned as 2Nd Amendment gun rights owners.  These surveys are never taken in the fly-over America, where most people live.  Douglas, I have to double down disagree with you on insurance.  Computer modules in cars have  a 10 year life.............not to mention, they are  unreliable.  You can't hold a cell phone signal or Sirius radio signal  on a consistant basis, and you want to trust your car with this?   Insanity.   PI Lawyers are warming up.  When a fatality happens, the owner says, 'I wasn't driving" then we go to GM or who ever made the car, "The GPS failed", then we sue the GPS Supplier and they say, "The Sensors failed"...........the sensor people say,
    "WE WERE HACKED"........."The ownwer didn't down load the new upgrades"
    Only the tip of the iceberg.  Wait till it fails at at intersection and some "regular" driver gets ambushed.................They will own these companies who are feeding "The DUMBEST idea of the 21st Century"
    and as a PS:
    no article in the last 2 years have ever ONCE mentioned how much the Ghostbuster add-on on the top of your roof  will add to the price of the car. 
    MORONS don't get it.   People don't buy solar panels, not because  they are a dumb idea, they ARE NOT A VALUE FOR THE CONSUMER.
    And as a PSS.
    I've heard the absurd argument about seat belts and air bags.  None of those took control of your car.

  8. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , February 22, 2018 at 7:52 p.m.

    One more thing, What's up with the dude in the picture?  He  needs one racing glove to  navigate the Camry??

  9. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, February 22, 2018 at 8:19 p.m.

    Douglas and Mark, thank you both for well articulating the core issues and divide in the self-driving arena. One thing that is happenig (see my story on Audi yesterday), is that car makers are adding functions of connectivity that help drivers, such as traffic light info, lane-drifting warnings, car length warnings, etc. The more logical market occurence is that self-driving vehicles are used for transporting multple people and not indivdually purchased and 'driven' by current car owners. We are monitoring all of this for marketing-to-consumers aspects, since there will ultimately be available consumer time that is available, due to not actually driving, no matter the vehicle.

  10. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, February 22, 2018 at 10:40 p.m.

    The tracking is a big no no. I do not want it in my car nor do I need it. Sure there are a few handy things like back up beeping, but that doens't need tracking. And I want a key to start the car A REAL LIVE KEY that's not so easy to hack.

  11. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US replied, February 24, 2018 at 9:54 p.m.

    don't we already have taxi's , buses, light rail, subways and limo's.

    The thrill is not having a driver????...............shallow thinking at it's best

  12. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 26, 2018 at 4:33 p.m.

    People who respond to this kind of survey have no idea what they would think if self-driving cars actually appeared on the highways and roads and the resulting accidents or other misfortunes began to be publicized. And once they really think about it, those of us who enjoy driving-----not the lazy ones----would, most likely opt out---unless the government tried to force us to go "driverless" by imposing penalties of some sort for not doing so. That, of course, would trigger a strong counter reaction. Stay tuned.

  13. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, February 26, 2018 at 5:33 p.m.

    Good point, Ed, it is challenging to survey an audience on something they are hardly even aware of, never mind experienced (or even saw it, for that matter).

  14. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US replied, February 26, 2018 at 5:44 p.m.

    how'd the obamacare mandate work out?
    8 million people would rather pay the fine , than deal with the government run ANYTHING.

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