Concerns around technology failures and security are key reasons why 55% of consumers are cautious about fully autonomous vehicles.
The Gartner Consumer Trends in Automotive online survey found that over half of respondents will not consider riding in a fully autonomous vehicle, while 71% may consider riding in a partially autonomous vehicle.
The survey was conducted from April 2017 through May 2017, and polled 1,519 people in the U.S. and Germany.
Gartner expects to see multiple launches of autonomous vehicles around 2020. However, the full impact of autonomous vehicle technology on society and the economy will not begin to emerge until approximately 2025. Consumer and social acceptance is a key driver in autonomous vehicle adoption.
"Fear of autonomous vehicles getting confused by unexpected situations, safety concerns around equipment and system failures and vehicle and system security are top concerns around using fully autonomous vehicles," explains Mike Ramsey, research director at Gartner.
Survey respondents agreed that fully autonomous vehicles do offer many advantages, including improved fuel economy and a reduced number and severity of crashes. Additional benefits they identified include having a safe transportation option when drivers are tired and using travel time for entertainment and work.
The survey found that consumers who currently embrace on-demand car services are more likely to ride in and purchase partially and fully autonomous vehicles. "This signifies that these more evolved users of transportation methods are more open toward the concept of autonomous cars," said Ramsey.
The percentage of people who used a mobility service, such as Uber or Car2Go, in the past 12 months rose to 23% from 19% in a similar survey conducted two years earlier. However, the transition to dropping a personally owned vehicle will be challenging outside of dense urban areas. For the automobile owners surveyed with a driveway or easily accessed parking, nearly half of the respondents said they would not consider giving up their own vehicle, even if they saved 75% over the cost of owning their own car. The ability to leave at any moment is the most cited reason for not replacing personal vehicles with on-demand car services. Trust and personal safety are also top concerns.
"The automotive industry is investing in new safety and convenience technology at a rate not seen since the dawn of the automobile. The experience of owning and operating a car will be dramatically different in 10 years," Ramsey said.
Dozens of companies are currently developing sensors and other technologies required to enable vehicles to detect and understand their surroundings. As of mid-2017, more than 46 companies are building artificial intelligence (AI)-based software to control an autonomous vehicle and make it operate in the world.
"Autonomous driving technology will fundamentally transform the automotive industry, changing the way vehicles are built, operated, sold, used and serviced," concluded Ramsey.