Gartner survey: consumers remain cautious on autonomous vehicles

Published: August 28, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Brad Neal

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While driverless vehicles are predicted to change many aspects of motoring for the better, drivers are still not completely behind the technology. A survey from Gartner Inc. shows that 55 percent of respondents “will not consider riding in a fully autonomous vehicle.”

The Gartner Consumer Trends in Automotive study was carried out in the United States and Germany, involving 1,519 people. Among the key finding was over half saying they would not consider using a fully autonomous vehicle. However, 71% say they would consider riding in semi-autonomous vehicle.

There are several levels of autonomous vehicle. The U.S. Federal Autonomous Vehicles Policy sets out the following SAE criteria (paraphrased) for determining automation:

  • SAE Level 0 – human does everything, like current cars
  • SAE Level 1 – some in-car systems can aid the human in the operation of the vehicle
  • SAE Level 2 – the autonomous tech can complete some driving tasks, but human monitoring is needed.
  • SAE Level 3 – the system conducts some driving and monitors some of the environment, but human must be ready as backup
  • SAE Level 4 – the system can conduct driving tasks without any input from humans. However, the system only works under some conditions. This is where the current market is.

Gartner says autonomous vehicles will be launched in 2020, but these will not be fully autonomous models. Indeed, the company believes the true impact on society and the economy will not be felt until 2025, when fully autonomous vehicles are closer to market. “Consumer and social acceptance is a key driver in autonomous vehicle adoption,” the release points out.

Driverless vehicles are predicted to transform road safety, reducing accidents significantly and cutting the costs of auto insurance premiums. However, the Gartner survey shows that consumers are still concerned about the technology failing:

“Fear of autonomous vehicles getting confused by unexpected situations, safety concerns around equipment and system failures and vehicle and system security are top concerns around using fully autonomous vehicles,” said Mike Ramsey, research director at Gartner, in the release.