April 19, 2017 by Canadian Underwriter
With the exception of Millenials, all other generational groups in the United States are becoming more skeptical of self-driving technology, posing a threat to car manufacturers and technology developers, a new study from J.D. Power has found.
The J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Tech Choice Study, released on Tuesday, said that compared with 2016, 11% more Generation Z consumers (defined by J.D. Power as those born between 1995 and 2004) and 9% more Pre-Boomers (born between 1946) said that they “definitely would not” trust automated technology. Global market research company J.D. Power defines the other generations as Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1976) and Millenials, or Generation Y, as those born between 1977 and 1994. The study is based on an online survey of more than 8,500 consumers in the U.S. who purchased or leased a new vehicle in the past five years.
Despite the findings related to lack of trust in automated technology, consumers this year showed “great interest” in collision protection and driving assistance technology, similar to the 2016 study, J.D. Power reported in a press release. Six of the top 10 features that consumers were most interest in before learning the price – smart headlights, camera rearview mirror, emergency braking and steering system, lane change assist, camera sideview mirrors and advanced windshield display – came from these categories, the report found.
“In most cases, as technology concepts get closer to becoming reality, consumer curiosity and acceptance increase,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and human machine interface research at J.D. Power. “With autonomous vehicles, we see a pattern where trust drives interest in the technology and right now, the level of trust is declining.”
Kolodge added in the release that “along with collision mitigation, there are many benefits to autonomous vehicles, including allowing those who are unable to drive in today’s vehicles to experience freedom of mobility. Interestingly, though, 40% of Boomers do not see any benefits to self-driving vehicles,” Kolodge continued. “Automated driving is a new and complex concept for many consumers; they’ll have to experience it firsthand to fully understand it. As features like adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and blind spot warning systems become mainstream, 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.”
The U.S. Tech Choice Study, now in its third year, examines consumer awareness, interest and price elasticity of various future and emerging technologies by vehicle make and consumer demographic. The major technology categories analyzed in the study are entertainment and connectivity, comfort and convenience, driving assistance, collision protection, navigation and energy efficiency. Consumer interest in emerging concepts such as alternative mobility solutions, cybersecurity threats and trust in automated technologies was also explored.