Most companies in the automotive industry are working to develop some element of autonomous driving or support for such a capability. However, we have a bit of a conundrum about our migration to an autonomous future.
At this point it is fair to say that we are investing billions of dollars in myriad solutions that will together deliver autonomous driving to the world in the near future. While the investment is mind-blowing, investment isn't the problem. The problem is a lack of consumer confidence with autonomous driving — many consumers are afraid to let a car take the wheel.
In AAA's 2019 annual automated vehicle survey, 71 percent of respondents stated that they are afraid to ride in fully self-driving vehicles. This percentage increased from 64 percent in 2018 after several high-profile automated-vehicle incidents. J.D. Power detailed a similar finding in its 2019 Mobility Confidence Index Study where consumer comfort with riding in self-driving vehicles scored a low index of 34 on a 100-point scale.
For all of us to succeed with autonomous driving, we need to dramatically improve the current perception. The best means to improve consumer sentiment with this new and seemingly intimidating technology, is to experience it safely. AAA identified that experience with "partially or fully automated vehicle technology will help remove some of the mystery for consumers and open the door for greater acceptance."
To address consumer perceptions and pave the way to our autonomous future we have a call to action to improve the consumer experience with automated, or automated-like features, leveraging advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS. Many such features are available today, and these features constitute the building blocks for autonomous driving.