Across all geographies younger drivers including Millennials and Generation Z respondents were more interested in full autonomy than other generational groups with 61 suggesting it as a feature of interest in their next new vehicle Photo Ford

Across all geographies, younger drivers, including Millennials and Generation Z respondents, were more interested in full autonomy than other generational groups, with 61% suggesting it as a feature of interest in their next new vehicle. (Photo: Ford)

Survey: Autonomous vehicles not broadly popular yet

Yet, in a bit of a conundrum, the technological systems that make autonomy possible are “highly desired” by most motorists.

New research by consulting firm IHS Markit on consumer preferences finds that autonomous vehicle technology is not yet popular among a broad audience – yet, ironically, that same audience ranked it among the very features they would be willing to pay the most for in their next new vehicle purchase, according to the company’s analysts.

Responses from more than 5,000 vehicle owners intending to purchase a new vehicle within the next 36 months were reviewed in the 2017 Autonomous Driving and Urban Mobility Consumer Analysis, representing five key automotive markets – the U.S., Canada, China, Germany and the United Kingdom – and blind spot detection ranked highest as the most desired features among all audiences, young and old.

The propensity to pay for blind spot detection varied by region, however, with the U.S. respondents reporting they would be willing to pay $488 for that technology; significantly more than consumers in other global regions, noted Colin Bird, senior automotive technology analyst for IHS Markit and co-author of the report.

“In terms of ADAS [advanced driver assistance systems] features like automatic emergency braking and blind spot detection, consumers wanted to see these features standard across the board,” he said in a statement.

Yet, according to its poll, just 44% of all respondents indicated that full autonomy would be a desirable feature on their next car – the lowest rank of all of the technologies included in this subsection of the survey. Interestingly, however, it also ranked as the technology that consumers would be most willing to pay for, according to IHS Markit. Price points varied by country, with U.S. consumers indicating they would pay the highest price to have the feature in their next new vehicle.

German consumers surveyed about the cost of the technology added to a new vehicle purchase, German respondents indicated they would be willing to pay $1,016 for it, nearly 20% more than the U.S. audience.

Among consumers surveyed in China, more than 72% of respondents reported desire for full autonomy as a feature in their next new vehicle, the highest of all the regions surveyed.

In comparison, just over half of U.S. consumers surveyed indicated full autonomy is a desired feature in their next new vehicle, though they too seem willing to pay the most for it over other technologies, noting an average willingness to spend $780 to have the technology on their next new vehicle.

In addition, U.S. consumers are interested in blind spot detection, navigation systems, automatic emergency braking and steering wheel mounted controls.

From a global perspective, highway autopilot also was mentioned as a top technology among consumers surveyed from all regions, but also at a variety of costs. U.S. consumers indicated a willingness to pay $538 for it, which is $107 more than their nearest counterparts to have their next new vehicle equipped with the technology.

The survey also researched comfort level with vehicle technology by age of the respondent groups, according to IHS Markit. Across all geographies, younger drivers, including Millennials and Generation Z respondents, were more interested in full autonomy than other generational groups, with 61% suggesting it as a feature of interest in their next new vehicle, the firm said.

Generation X, baby boomers and the swing generation all trail in level of interest significantly, even though these new and evolving technologies will present the greatest opportunity to make transportation and mobility easier for older generations, the poll found.

In addition, respondents widely reported that driving alone was their leading form of transportation, the survey determined, seconded by walking and public transit.

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