By bruners33618, Aug 1 2017 02:08PM
Bruner's Insurance on Car Insurance
Autonomous vehicles are revving up to hit the road, but some consumers still want to test the brakes.
Although recent history saw most car manufacturers shift toward autonomous vehicles, the latest J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Tech Choice Study found that all generations — except Millennials/Gen Y — are becoming more skeptical of self-driving technology. Compared with 2016, 11 percent more Gen Z consumers and 9 percent more Pre-Boomers say they "definitely would not" trust automated technology.
Researchers deducted, however, that car manufacturers and tech developers should view this as an opportunity rather than a setback. Consider that although Baby Boomers are the least comfortable with technologies that assume control of vehicle-operating functions, they represent a tiny segment of the consumer market, and are unlikely to impact the future of the car industry.
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At the other end of the spectrum, Gen Y and Gen Z are far more comfortable with a tech-infused car industry. It follows that companies making and catering to autonomous vehicles will need to focus on Millennials, currently the largest generation.
Smart car detects danger
Features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and blind-spot warning systems are still being mainstreamed. (Photo: Shutterstock)
You've got to crawl before you can walk
Humans are typically adverse to change, but we can adapt in incremental steps.
Cars evolved in a similar way. Now more cars come equipped with safety provisions like blind spot detection and smart headlights, and the industry isn't going backward. For instance, the next five years are expected to produce more agreements between automakers and government that will result in the widespread adoption of emergency braking — a foundation technology for autonomous driving.
Consumers also show growing interest in collision protection and driving assistance technology. Six of the top ten features that consumers were most interested in before learning the price come from these two categories.
Why do consumers fear autonomous vehicle tech failures but embrace driving assistance features?
"Automated driving is a new and complex concept for many consumers," said Kristin Kolodge, J.D. Power's executive director of driver interaction and human machine interface (HMI). "They’ll have to experience it firsthand to fully understand it."
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Companies including Google and Apple are becoming more engaged in self-driving vehicles, while Uber continues to struggle with setbacks.
Smart car with smart features
Many of the niche additions in smart cars do not attract consumers as much as collision protection and driving assistance-related technologies, according to The J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Tech Choice Study. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Less is more
Car manufacturers and technology developers would do well to remember that autonomous driving is about safety, not convenience. By focusing on ways to prevent human error, they will appeal to customers who are most attracted to the idea of autonomous vehicles.
The J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Tech Choice Study also found that consumers aren't as enthusiastic about niche convenience technologies. Collision protection and driving assistance-related technologies boast the highest pre-price interest, while features in the entertainment and connectivity, and comfort and convenience categories show the lowest pre-price interest.
Gen Z consumers, however, showed higher interest in niche conveniences:
Many are attracted to digital key technology.
A total of 40 percent indicated they definitely would like digital key technology on their next vehicle.
Fifty-eight percent are willing to pay $250 for it, compared with 28 percent of all consumers.
"As features like adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and blind-spot warning systems become mainstream," said Kolodge, "car buyers will gain more confidence in taking their hands off the steering wheel and allowing their vehicles to step in to prevent human error.”