Are you ready for autonomous driving?
New study reveals different attitudes to autonomous cars.
A little wary, or ready to leap on in and let the car do the driving? Audi has produced a user typology that identifies what different people think of the idea of the driverless car.
23 October, 2019
Audi and research institute Ipsos, interviewed 21,000 people in nine countries on three continents
It seems that the future is arriving at incredible speed and the dreams of yesterday will soon become the realities of today and tomorrow. But with technology like autonomous driving, there is more than just the logistical and legal aspects to negotiate, but also the perception of people all over the globe and the way they view the very idea of this game-changing technology.
To that end, Audi and research institute Ipsos, interviewed 21,000 people in nine countries on three continents to get a feel for the way they through and the types of reactions people share over this new technology.
The result is an online study called “The Pulse of Autonomous Driving”, and the results are interesting to say the least.
It shows that young, high-earning and well-educated ‘status-oriented trendsetters’ and ‘tech-savvy passengers’ are the ones most looking forward to autonomous driving. Amongst the more ‘suspicious drivers’, who tend to be older with a lower level of income and education, skepticism is more common. The ‘safety-oriented reluctant’ would use autonomous driving only when others have gained experience with the technology. The largest user group are the ‘open-minded co-pilots’, who are fundamentally open to autonomous driving as long as they can take control at any time.
“This study is more than just a welcome addition to our knowledge about the phenomenon of autonomous driving,” says Dr Luciano Floridi, professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information and director of the Digital Ethics Lab, University of Oxford, and member of the scientific network of the initiative ‘&Audi’.”
“It is a necessary step for any policy- and law-making decision, as well as any R&D and business strategy that intends to be proactive and informed in delivering a better world.”
Since 2015, Audi has been examining the social acceptance of autonomous driving, and the study looks at how rational arguments, emotions, values and lifestyles shape attitudes to autonomous driving. The result is a triad consisting of an emotional landscape, a human readiness index, and a user typology.
The emotional landscape on autonomous driving produces a mixed picture. On the one hand, internationally there is strong interest in (82 percent) and curiosity about (62 percent) autonomous driving. In the new technology, respondents see potential for the individual and society – from easier access to mobility (76 percent) and greater convenience (72 percent) to more safety (59 percent). More than half of respondents would like to test autonomous driving.
The result of the study is a triad consisting of an emotional landscape, a human readiness index, and a user typology
The human readiness index (HRI) provides insights into the way that attitudes to autonomous driving relate to sociodemographics
On the other hand, clear concerns also exist, above all the fear of loss of control (70 percent) and unavoidable residual risks (66 percent). Some 41 percent of respondents are suspicious of the technology and about one third (38 percent) are anxious. The greatest willingness to hand over control relates to autonomous parking and traffic jams on highways. The level of knowledge about autonomous driving appears to be low though, with only eight percent confident that they can explain the subject.
The human readiness index (HRI) provides insights into the way that attitudes to autonomous driving relate to sociodemographics. The results show that the younger the respondents are and the higher their level of education and income, the more positive is their attitude to autonomous driving. Differences are also apparent between the countries that were investigated. The Chinese (HRI +5.1) are euphoric, and South Koreans (HRI +1.2) too are above-average in their positive view of the technology. In Europe the Spanish and Italians lead the field (both HRI +0.7). Germans and French are relatively reserved (both HRI -0.7), as are the Americans, Japanese and British (all HRI -0.9). The HRI combines knowledge of, interest in, emotions about and readiness to use self-driving cars to produce a numerical indicator between -10 and +10.
By examining attitudes to autonomous driving in the context of people’s lives, the user typology shows that significant differences exist. This analysis results in five user types. The ‘suspicious driver’ likes to stick with what already exists and would use autonomous driving only if it had become fully established. ‘Safety-oriented reluctants’, too, have a largely reserved attitude to autonomous driving and believe that autonomous cars should first be tested for years before being allowed on the road. The ‘open-minded co-pilot’ sees the benefits of the technology and desires measures from the fields of business, science and politics to put the cars on the road safely. ‘Status-oriented trendsetters’ are enthusiastic about self-driving cars because they can demonstrate their progressive lifestyle in this way. The ‘tech-savvy passenger’ trusts the technology and wants it to be introduced across the board.
Of course, attitudes are just one of the areas that require attention with this technology, and there are many other aspects to consider. Different countries, differing infrastructures, legal requirements and the all-important safety concerns, must be addressed before the technology can proceed. But understanding the prevailing attitudes to autonomous vehicles is an important consideration as we move towards the future.
Which category best fits you?
Of course, attitudes are just one of the areas that require attention with the future implementation of this sort of technology
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