Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are likely to see significant adoption and uptake in the medium-term future. However, exactly when this adoption happens depends both on the technical implementation and development of AVs, but also on consumer willingness to use and/or buy AVs.
In order to better understand consumer willingness to buy AVs and consumer concerns Vienna University of Economics and Business researchers conducted a large-scale online survey in Austria. The survey asked respondents a variety of questions about their attitudes towards AVs such as "What are your concerns about replacing conventional cars with self-driving cars?" and "How safe would you feel in an AV versus a conventional car?". All responses were collected via a 5-point Likert scale.
Overall, the survey returned 192 responses.
Initial analysis of the data suggested that it was non-normally distributed (in terms of gender), therefore researchers used non-parametric tests; instead they used Spearman's rank correlation and Mann-Whitney U tests for hypothesis testing.
Researchers found that overall respondents had significant concerns about AV technology. Specifically, legal concerns (mean = 4.08) were the top concern. Cybersecurity concerns (mean = 3.82) and unspecified "safety" concerns (mean = 3.84) also ranked high. Cost concerns (mean = 3.68) were the lowest concern. Additionally, users were significantly less likely to say they would feel safe in an AV (mean = 2.64) compared to being in a conventional car (mean = 3.81).
Beyond safety, security, cost etc. concerns researchers also asked users how comfortable they would be sharing their hypothetical AV in a 'shared autonomous vehicle' scheme. Nearly half of respondents (n = 86) stated they would never share their car. In terms of those who responded indicated that they would share their car, 44 percent of respondents stated they would be motivated by environmental concerns, one quarter would be motivated by theoretical rental income, and a fifth of respondents would be potentially motivated by tax breaks.
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