Consumer trust in autonomous vehicles appears to be stalling, along with trust in U.S. auto manufacturers' ability to bring these technologies to market.
Deloitte’s 2019 Global Automotive Consumer Study, which surveyed over 25,000 consumers across 20 countries, found that consumers’ appetite for self-driving vehicles is lagging behind the industry’s pace of investment in advanced vehicle technology.
A full report of the findings will be released in early January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Several automakers have announced plans for the show, including Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, which is collaborating with Disney for an in-car project.
This is the 2019 iteration of the study, but the responses were collected in September and October of 2018. Similarly, the 2018 iteration of the study reflected responses collected in late 2017. The overall goal of the study is to answer important questions that can help companies prioritize and better position their business strategies and investments.
A majority of U.S. consumers (56%) indicate they want significant oversight from the government for autonomous vehicles. Furthermore, the number of respondents who trust traditional automakers to bring AV technology to market continues to fall, slipping from 47% in 2018 to 39% in 2019.
Last year, more consumers were warming up to the concept of self-driving vehicles and their safety, but that has flattened out in the latest survey, says Craig Giffi, U.S. leader for automotive and industrial products, Deloitte.
The number of respondents in the U.S. who did not believe AVs will be safe decreased significantly from 2017 (74%) to (2018) (47%). But from 2018 to 2019, that percentage actually increased slightly, from 47% to 50%, showing a plateau.
“The percentage of people viewing autonomous vehicles as safe has stalled in virtually every market Deloitte studied,” Giffi tells Marketing Daily. “Public perception is likely being shaped by the widespread awareness of accidents involving AVs, with nearly two-thirds of consumers in South Korea, the United States, India, and China agreeing that media reports of accidents involving AVs have made them more cautious of the technology.”
While manufacturers are quickly moving to deliver advanced vehicle connectivity, consumers may not be ready to pay for those features, Giffi says.
“In Germany, 43% of consumers said they would not pay any more for a connected vehicle,” he says. “A similar story plays out in the United States, where one-third of consumers would not pay more, and another 42% would only pay up to $500 more.”
The study also looked at the use of ride services like Uber and Lyft. Only 12% of U.S. consumers use ride-hailing at least once a week, while the percentage of those who use it “occasionally” reached 46%. This is compared to 23% who used it at least once a week in 2017 and 22% who used it occasionally.
When it comes to even non-autonomous, but connected, vehicles, privacy continued to be an issue. Roughly two-thirds (63%) of U.S. consumers are concerned about biometric data being captured and shared with external parties.