Higher levels of automation, also referred to as self-driving car safety features, often promise increased vehicle safety. Yet, while autonomous driving features add convenience, consumer sentiment remains low, with widespread apprehension about self-driving cars. A spring 2023 S&P Global Mobility consumer survey states, “Just 47% of consumers said they would ride in a car with self-driving abilities and would consider purchasing one.”
While full automation vehicles, systems which do not need a human driver to operate the car, are not available to consumers today, Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) and progress towards autonomous vehicles are advancing.
Furthermore, considerable investment has been put into developing, testing, and validating automated driving systems in recent years. Although consumers may be less open to driving fully autonomous vehicles, consumers do overwhelmingly want vehicles with ratings for higher car safety features, which is also going autonomous driving technology.
Are self-driving cars safe?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicle safety promises to be one of automation’s biggest benefits. Today’s Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, which provide lower levels of automation, can assist drivers by anticipating imminent dangers and working to avoid them.
Consumers Struggle To Understand Self-Driving Vehicle Automation
Many consumers need a better level of understanding of what self-driving cars entail, and they need to understand how self-driving cars are going to work fully. According to a recent study, “65% of consumers inaccurately define fully automated, self-driving vehicles.”
The findings also showed that 56% of respondents thought the current driver-assist technologies available today were the same as fully automated self-driving systems. A separate survey showed similar results, with nearly a quarter of respondents believing that drivers can currently buy a car that can handle all driving tasks, allowing them to disengage while on the road fully.
Additionally, consumers needed clarification when asked about terminology used to describe different levels of automation.
With these levels of misunderstanding, it’s almost no surprise that a survey from Pew Research indicates that a majority of Americans, 63% of adults, express apprehension about riding in an autonomous vehicle, saying, “They would not want to ride in a driverless passenger vehicle if they had the opportunity.”
Not only are some Americans reluctant to ride in driverless cars themselves, but 45% say “they would not feel comfortable sharing the road with driverless vehicles if the use of them became widespread.”
The evolving nature of automated self-driving poses challenges to both consumers and automakers. To overcome this confusion, automakers, dealerships, and other stakeholders must work together to create clear and consistent messaging that consumers understand.
Consumers Indicate a Strong Preference for Automated Car Safety Features
Car buyers are highly interested in automated car safety features, with many stating that “safety ratings are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very important’ when buying a vehicle.” Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are technologies that focus on increasing vehicle safety by providing driver support, such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings, and blind-spot notifications.
These ADA systems may use a combination of cameras, radar, LiDAR (light detection and ranging), GPS, and mapping data to provide a safer, automated driving experience.
In specific scenarios, vehicles with these ADAS features that can take over steering, acceleration, and braking are examples of Level 2 driving automation. These vehicles still require the driver to remain alert and actively supervise the technology at all times.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “The continuing evolution of automotive technology, including driver assistance technologies and automated driving systems, [aims] to deliver even greater car safety features.”
However, many buyers want to pay less for safety features despite consumers’ preference for vehicles with higher safety ratings. Reports indicate that “more than 50% of buyers expect these features to be standard.”
The Future of Self-Driving Car Safety Features
Currently, almost manufacturer offers Level 2 autonomous systems, with some offering Level 2+ plans that provide varying degrees of hands-off automated highway driving. As automakers eye moving towards a Level 3 automated-driving system, there are several technical hurdles to overcome, including constraints involving scalability and considerations involving compliance and safety standards.
Surveys found that consumers currently trust German manufacturers the most when it comes to developing automated driving systems, with “approximately 75% of consumers are confident that German premium automakers can develop a safe and effective self-driving vehicle.”
It’s unsurprising then that Mercedes Benz has announced that it will debut its Level 3 autonomous system, which allows conditional hands-free driving, in the U.S. as an option on the 2024 EQS and S-class sedans.
The Level 3 system will enable drivers to have access to hands-free driving in certain conditions, allowing the car to handle most driving duties but still requiring the driver to be able to take over at any time.
While this technology is already available on its vehicles in Germany, for now, Nevada and California are the only U.S. states where Drive Pilot has received regulatory approval.
Looking forward, autonomous technologies have the potential to transform transportation and disrupt the passenger car market. By 2035, autonomous driving and advanced driver-assistance systems are projected to generate between $300 billion and $400 billion in the passenger car market.
Auto dealers must be ready to describe to consumers the many benefits of ADAS and autonomous driving regarding car safety features. You can depend on the automotive marketing experts at Safeguard to provide innovative marketing ideas that bring customers to your showroom. Visit our site to get started.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car safety features promise to be one of automation’s biggest benefits.
- Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems already offer many car safety features and can assist drivers by anticipating imminent dangers and working to avoid them.
- Many consumers need a better level of understanding of what self-driving cars entail, and they need to understand how self-driving cars are going to work fully.
- Car buyers are highly interested in automated safety features, with many stating that “safety ratings are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very important’ when buying a vehicle.”
- Autonomous technologies can potentially transform transportation and disrupt the passenger car market.
- The automotive marketing specialists at Safeguard can help with innovative strategies that bring customers to your auto dealership.