By October 24, 2017 Read More →

Car buyers more ready for autonomous vehicles: Edmunds

autonomous vehicles

Automakers like Honda,Tesla, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz are gaining trust with their customers by introducing Level 1 and Level 2 autonomous vehicles and will likely be ahead of the competition when fully automated vehicles hit the marketplace. Honda photo.

Millennials more receptive to autonomous vehicles

Car buyers who equip their newly purchased vehicles with modern safety features are taking part in the autonomous vehicle revolution.

According to an Edmunds survey, over 40 per cent of consumers said they would spend between $1,000 and $2,000 for a vehicle with active safety features.  These include blind-spot detection, pre-collision warning systems and land keeping assist and are some basic features of autonomous vehicles.

More than 60 per cent of new vehicles sold today can be purchased either at Level 1 or Level 2 autonomy.  Five years ago, less than 25 per cent of new vehicle models offered these features.

The Society of Automotive Engineers says Level 1 autonomy means most functions are controlled by the driver, but some functions, like steering and accelerating can be controlled by the car.

Level 2 autonomy is a vehicle where steering and acceleration/deceleration is automated using information about the driving environment.  Cruise control and lane-centering features fall in the Level 2 category.  Level 2 vehicle drivers must always be ready to take control of the vehicle, even though the driver may, at times, have his or her hands off the wheel and foot off the pedal at the same time.

“Analyzing the prevalence of active safety features demonstrates just how ready OEMs are to bring this technology to mass production, and how willing consumers are to adopt it,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis.

She adds “While some car buyers may view a fully autonomous vehicle as a novelty, a vehicle that has the ability to prevent an accident before it occurs is seen as a safety breakthrough.”

Caldwell says that policy changes are mandating that many active safety features become standard, quickening the pace of development of the autonomous vehicle.

Millennials are more willing to be early adopters, according to the survey.  65 per cent of millennials said they would trust a Level 4, or fully autonomous vehicle.

Level 4 vehicles are designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip.  35 per cent of millennials surveyed said they would buy a Level 4 autonomous vehicle if it becomes available in the next five years.

Only 16 per cent of millennials said they would not buy an autonomous vehicles, and nearly 50 per cent of those 55 and older agreed with the younger buyers.

“As active safety features continue to become more and more prolific, we predict these older buyers will start to feel more comfortable with autonomous technology,” Caldwell said. “Our analysis shows the interest in autonomy is there — it’s just a matter of continuing to demonstrate to buyers that the benefits will outweigh any perceived risks.”

Edmunds says the automakers offering active safety features on the widest variety of vehicles in their lineup include Tesla, Volvo, Honda and Mercedes-Benz.

“Automakers that offer a full suite of active safety features on their vehicles are at a distinct advantage in the race to autonomy,” Caldwell said. “It’s a way they can demonstrate their technology leadership to car buyers now so that when full autonomy does come, they’ve already established trust and credibility with a large base of potential buyers.”

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