Owners of luxury vehicles, from Mercedes-Benz and Nissan’s Infiniti, are more likely to be interested in self-driving, according to a MaritzCX survey that polled a variety of car owners.
On the opposite end, owners of RAM and Jeep cars, two of the popular off-road brands, were least likely to be interested in self-driving. Less than 10 percent of RAM and Jeep owners said they were “very interested”, compared to 27 percent for Mercedes and Infiniti.
Toyota, Chevrolet, Honda, and Ford car owners were all in the middle of the pack, at 20 to 18 percent.
“Luxury-vehicle owners are more willing to accept this technology because they believe safety would be much better in these types of vehicles,” said Shawn St. Clair, the survey author and global syndication director at MaritzCX, to Bloomberg. “If you’re interested in off-roading in a Jeep or a Ram, you’re not interested in an autonomous vehicle.”
Despite the positive numbers for Infiniti and Mercedes, the majority of car owners still reject the idea of self-driving. 48 percent stated that they weren’t interested in the technology.
The numbers are a little better than a British survey, where 70 percent rejected full automation, but there’s still uncertainty surrounding self-driving and its apparent benefits.
It’s still early days, but…
That’s a worrying sign for auto manufacturers that have invested billions into the self-driving market. The manufacturers will have to prove the tech can work in crowded cities with thousands of pedestrians, two of the biggest fears from consumers, before we see consumer attitudes change.
Self-driving is still a few years away from entering the market, but taxi trials have begun in Singapore and Pittsburgh. nuTonomy has a 2018 goal for launching a shuttle service in Singapore, while Tesla and Uber are reportedly aiming to have driverless cars on the road before 2020.
These early services should provide enough evidence for worried consumers, so by the time General Motors, Ford, and other big automakers enter the scene, the fear of self-driving has been muted. Or at least, that’s what auto manufacturers are hoping will be the case.