Report Finds Autonomous Vehicles Gaining Acceptance

By Mia Bevacqua

Although fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) aren’t in dealership showrooms yet, it’s only a matter of time. Self-driving cars are steadily overcoming several hurdles – one of which is consumer acceptance.

A new study commissioned by ANSYS, Inc. – an engineering simulation company –  finds that, on average, 77% of consumers worldwide are ready to ride in an AV. Additionally, 71% believe AVs will be better drivers than humans by 2029. But that level of acceptance varies by age and location. There is still some skepticism as well, even amongst supporters.

Approval of Self-Driving Cars Varies by Country
Eleven different markets were polled as part of the ANSYS survey. The results indicate that Japan (not the United States) is the most open to self-driving cars.

Of the Japanese surveyed, 97% said they’re comfortable riding in self-driving cars. Meanwhile, only 69% of the Americans polled were okay with delegating driving duties to an AV. The United Kingdom had the lowest acceptance rate of all, coming in at just 57%.

Young People are Ready to Relinquish the Wheel
Unsurprisingly, Millennials and young people from Generation Z, were the most prepared to ride in an AV. An impressive 87% of individuals between the age of 18 and 24 said they expect to travel in a self-driving car during their lifetime.

Of the Millennials surveyed (age 25 to 34), a total of 88% planned to travel by AV at some point. Older people over the age of 65 were less optimistic – only 57% believe they’ll be chauffeured by a self-driving car during their lifetime.

Fears Still Plague Early Adopters
Even consumers who accept self-driving cars have their reservations. Some 59% of survey participants said they were most concerned about AV technology failure. Fear of the vehicle being hacked by a nefarious third party was a close second at 42%.

When asked what types of companies would build the safest self-driving cars, 24% of respondents said luxury carmakers. Technology companies snagged 20% of the vote, while non-luxury brands earned 16%.

How to Pass Time in a Self-driving Car
The most interesting part of the survey, perhaps, answers the question: what would you do with your free time inside an AV?

Reading a good book was the pastime of choice for the greatest number (32%) of respondents. Self-care was at the other end of the spectrum (5%), followed by smoking/vaping (13%) and eating (15%). Watching a movie/listening to music (30%) and working (19%) were somewhere in the middle.

A note on survey methodology: To conduct the survey, ANSYS commissioned Atomik Research to poll 22,041 adults aged in 11 markets (the United Kingdom, United States, DACH, France, Italy, Spain, Benelux, Sweden, Japan, China, India). See the information on the ANSYS website for further details.