As autonomous driving gets ready for prime time, it’s crucial automotive manufacturers understand how people feel about the technology. In a comprehensive online study called “The Pulse of Autonomous Driving” done in the context of the “&Audi” initiative, Audi set out to find just how people felt about self-driving cars.
- Audi conducted a worldwide online study to find out attitudes about autonomous driving.
- From the study, Audi identified five types of driver attitudes regarding self-driving cars, ranging from enthusiastic to skeptical.
- 30 percent of people interviewed were open-minded about the technology but aren’t ready to let the car make all the decisions.
In cooperation with the market research institute Ipsos, Audi interviewed 21,000 people in nine countries on three continents. The results identified five types of drivers: suspicious, safety-oriented reluctant, open-minded co-pilot, status-oriented trendsetter and tech-savvy passenger.
The Audi e-tron SUV is the brand’s first fully electric production model. (Photo: Audi)
Which type of driver are you?
Perhaps predictably, “suspicious” drivers are those who skew older and have a lower level of income and education. These people are the most skeptical of handing over driving duties to the car and accounted for 14 percent of the global respondents. Though they have low interest in autonomous driving, the “safety-oriented reluctant” can imagine the car taking over on the highway or when parking — as long as they can get back in the pilot’s seat at any moment. 24 percent of global respondents fell into this category.
Safety is a concern
The largest group (30 percent) fell into the “open-minded co-pilots” category. These respondents look upon autonomous driving as a positive advancement for safety and convenience, but want the option to take control at their discretion. Most notably, “open-minded co-pilots” want to have their own autonomous car rather than traveling in one that’s part of a rideshare.
In search of excitement and adventure, the “status-oriented trendsetters” (16 percent) think autonomous driving will polish up their image and is open to the experience. Safety remains a prime concern, but they will put their trust in the technology if reputable companies develop it. When it comes to the “tech-savvy passengers”, this group wants to jump aboard today and reap the rewards autonomous driving offers, such as easier access, convenience and safety on the road immediately. They don’t fear loss of control like the other categories of drivers do. Comprising 16 percent of global respondents, the “tech-savvy passenger” is also the most environmentally conscious, using bicycles and public transport in addition to cars.
WHY THIS MATTERS
By identifying types of drivers and their concerns, the industry can devise an action plan to help social acceptance of autonomous driving. It’s promising that in this study 86 percent of respondents would consider trying out the technology when certain conditions are met.