Acceptance hardly automatic for autonomous vehicles: JD Power

Self-driving cars have a long way to go in terms of consumer acceptance, according to a new study conducted by J.D. Power, Partners for Automated Vehicle Education- Canada, and MIT’s AVT Consortium.  It found the average consumer has a very limited understanding of how automated vehicles work, how they’ll fit into the existing roadways and traffic laws, and how vulnerable they are to technology failures and hacking.

The study states that: “67 per cent of consumers in Canada possess inaccurate knowledge of fully automated, self-driving vehicles—a problem not unique to Canada. More than half (59 per cent) of respondents classify driver-assist technologies that are available today as being fully automated, self-driving technologies—an indication that consumers are unaware they are overestimating their AV knowledge.”

Called The J.D. Power 2022 Canada Mobility Confidence Index (MCI) Study, it was funded by Transport Canada through an Enhanced Road Safety Transfer Payment Program grant awarded to PAVE Canada.

“Successful adoption of AV technologies may be best facilitated when consumers are adequately educated and have a sound understanding of the technologies’ capabilities,” said Lisa Boor, senior manager of auto benchmarking and mobility development at J.D. Power.

Concerns about cyber security and technology failures are some of the deepest concerns that consumers have regarding self-driving vehicles, with 48 per cent of respondents citing the possibility of AVs being hacked as a disadvantage.

The report notes that: “There is a desire for greater knowledge, as 77 per cent of consumers say they need more information on what is being done to prevent hacking.”People are searching for more information on self-driving vehicles, says the study. The most preferred information sources are online search (50 per cent), vehicle manufacturer/developer websites (50 per cent), online videos (36 per cent) and industry/academic experts (34 per cent).

“This study paints a broader picture of Canadians’ current level of understanding about AVs, which also helps us understand the knowledge gaps,” said Tara Andringa, executive director of PAVE. “Canadians are curious about AV technology on the roads today and what’s coming in the future, and it’s our mission at PAVE Canada to help the public better understand the full scope and potential of driverless technology.”

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