Fully Automated, Self-Driving Vehicles: Is Auto Industry Getting Ahead of Itself?

TROY, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As the automotive industry systematically advances toward greater vehicle automation, consumers Willingness for higher levels of automation remains low – even declining slightly from 2021 onwards – making it difficult to involve vehicle buyers in the modern mobility movement. According to the JD Power 2022 US Mobility Confidence Index (MCI)℠ study released today, while consumer readiness for automated vehicles (AV) is low across all transportation modalities, consumers demonstrate more comfort in transporting goods than fully automated, self-driving commercial vehicles.

Additionally, consumer understanding of automated vehicles is virtually unchanged from last year, with 65% of consumers misinterpreting fully automated, self-driving vehicles. Significant shortcomings remain, as 56% of respondents incorrectly categorized the driver assistance technologies available today as fully automated, self-driving technologies. The survey found that consumers are lagging behind in understanding and preparing for higher levels of automation.

When asked about the terminology used to describe different levels of automation, consumers became even more confused when it came to AV technologies. The study, conducted by JD Power, Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) and the MIT Advanced Vehicle Technology (AVT) Consortium, shows that consumers prefer to use the same three terms (assisted driving, driver assistance and semi-autonomous). when describing multiple levels of automation (SAE Level 2™ and SAE Level 3™).1 While the characteristic technical descriptions may serve the industry, they do not correspond to the consumer understanding.

“Our message has remained consistent,” he said Lisa Boor, senior manager of auto benchmarking and mobility development at JD Power. “Industry stakeholders need to work together to ensure a clear and consistent message, and using consumer-focused terminology is part of that. Understanding which words and phrases resonate with consumers can help eliminate misunderstandings and increase consumer understanding of AVs, which is a common goal.”

Among the 37% of consumers looking for information about fully automated, self-driving vehicles, online sources are the most used. These consumers used online searches (54%); online videos (45%); and vehicle manufacturer/developer websites (39%). The same online preferences are cited by consumers who have not yet looked for AV information. However, unique to this group is the preference for industry/academic experts (33%) over family/friends (24%), traditional media (14%) and social media (14%).

“AV technology offers great potential to make our streets safer, improve traffic fairness and offer more transportation options to more people,” he said Tara Andringa, Managing Director of PAVE. “But we won’t realize that potential if consumers don’t understand the technology and know how to use it safely.” These results show that we need to redouble our efforts to help consumers understand the technology, and we need to provide the public with clear, understandable language to describe these new features.”

The following are the main findings of the 2022 study:

  • Low consumer readiness for fully automated, self-driving vehicles: Consumer AV Readiness Index score is 39 (on a 100-point scale), a 3-point decrease since 2021. Consumers show low levels of readiness across all metrics and are the least comfortable driving in a fully automated, self-driving vehicle vehicle and the use of fully automated, self-driving public transport. Consumers consistently report greater comfort when transporting goods or driving in a fully automated, self-driving vehicle when they cannot or do not want to drive due to age or injury.
  • Consumers Receptive to AV Training: More than half (55%) of consumers are willing to take training to operate an AV, and for those who say they know “a lot” about AVs, the percentage jumps to 87%. Almost three-quarters (73%) of consumers expect additional training would be required to own and operate a fully automated, self-driving vehicle. Younger generations are more likely to complete additional training.
  • Opportunity for more effective learning methods: Consumers say the sources of information they use to learn about their current vehicle’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) features are the owner’s manual (32%); online search (27%); and dealer declaration (26%). Traditional vehicle educational sources, such as car dealerships and written materials, are inadequate for learning about complex ADAS and AV technologies, leading consumers to seek new learning methods, including in-person and interactive learning.
  • Current ADAS usage drives future intent: Just over a quarter (26%) of consumers say they use active driving assistance, and frequent use has a significant impact on future intent, with 71% who use the feature frequently wanting it in their next vehicle. Regular ADAS users consider themselves early adopters of new technologies; This is especially true for those using active driver assistance technology.
  • Consumer convenience with automation can be overstated: Surprisingly, the proportion of respondents who state that driver-assistance technology is the maximum level of automation they are comfortable with remains unchanged at 41%. Even those who list convenience with the highest level of automation express a lack of confidence and concern that the evolving technology is unproven. One respondent stated: “I am not willing to trust my life to a fully automated vehicle. Need time to trust system’s capabilities.” More than three-quarters (76%) say they would like more information on how vehicle technology meets government standards to feel comfortable with automated vehicles.

“These results provide further evidence that many consumers lack a clear understanding of the current state of automated and assisted driving technologies,” he said Bryan Reimer, Ph.D., research scientist at MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics AgeLab and founder of MIT’s AVT Consortium. “The technology of highly automated driving is still in a development and testing stage; Problems and limitations are identified – and fixed. The sooner consumers realize that they can use a range of ADAS features today to support their role as drivers while still taking overall responsibility, the faster we can prepare for a future where we are safe, comfortable and sustainable Prioritizing mobility options include highly automated vehicles.”

The JD Power 2022 Mobility Confidence Index Study is based on responses from 4,000 US vehicle owners ages 18 and older who completed a 15-minute online survey. Study results are adjusted based on the demographic census to be representative across the country. Conducted in June 2022, the study is based on six unique attributes of consumer convenience with fully automated, self-driving vehicles. The comprehensive metric measures consumer readiness for AV technology across multiple categories: personal vehicles; Commercial vehicles; public transport; horseback riding when unable to drive a car due to age or injury; share the road with other AVs; and consumer purchase intent.

About JD Power

JD Power is a leading global provider of consumer insights, advisory services, and data and analytics. A pioneer in using big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and algorithmic modeling capabilities to understand consumer behavior, JD Power has been delivering concise industry insights into customer interactions with brands and products for more than 50 years. The world’s leading companies in key industries rely on JD Power for their customer-centric strategies.

JD Power has offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. To learn more about the company’s business offerings, visit JDPower.com/business.

About PAVE

Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of advanced vehicle technologies to maximize the potential benefits in safety, mobility and sustainability. PAVE members are automobile manufacturers, technology companies and non-profit organizations.

About the MIT Advanced Vehicle Technology Consortium

The Advanced Vehicle Technology (AVT) Consortium is an academia-industry partnership formed in 2015 within the Center for Transportation and Logistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is supported by over 25 different automakers, insurance companies, suppliers and research organizations through a pre-competitive collaboration aimed at developing a data-driven understanding of driver behavior with and use of vehicle automation, driver safety systems and other technologies. AVT research aims to support a future of safer, more convenient and more sustainable mobility through more effective human-centric vehicle technology development and consumer understanding of appropriate technology usage.

About JD Power and Advertising/Advertising Rules www.jdpower.com/business/about-us/press-release-info

1 https://www.sae.org/blog/sae-j3016-update

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