New Research: Consumer Anxiety over Autonomous Vehicle Safety is Greatest Deterrent to Adoption

It's about a 2 min. read.

A new study, from market research and consulting firm Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) finds overcoming consumer anxiety is key to greater acceptance of autonomous vehicles (AVs).

CMB’s analysis includes an online quantitative survey of over 2,000 U.S. consumers, ethnographic research and in-depth interviews to uncover reactions to and perceptions of a range of assisted and autonomous driving scenarios (e.g., being in an AV vs. being near one in the city vs. on the highway, having your child ride in an AV alone, having an elderly relative ride in an AV alone).

Key findings include:

  • Wide-spread rejection of riding in fully autonomous vehicles. 70% of respondents state they would not ride in a fully-autonomous vehicle in a city driving or highway driving scenario.
  • The idea of putting an elderly relative in an autonomous vehicle alone was rejected by 78% of respondents; while fewer (69%) out-right rejected the likelihood of placing a child in a fully autonomous vehicle alone.
  • In contrast to most industries and technologies, overcoming negative emotions is more important than generating positive emotions to drive greater acceptance of autonomous vehicles. Specifically, addressing widespread feelings of Anxiety, Paranoia, and Hesitancy will be key to move the industry forward. Emotions of paranoia are linked to fears of hackers gaining control of AV systems.
  • It will also important to generate specific positive emotions as well, however, including feelings of Relaxation, Pride, Security and Efficiency.
  • Emotions around “Security,” are conflicting. Many people believe widespread autonomous vehicle usage could bring tremendous public safety benefits, but they still have major anxiety around losing full control over a vehicle’s actions.

“Reducing anxiety among consumers must be the autonomous car industry’s #1 priority,” notes study author Chris Neal, CMB’s VP of Tech and Telecom. “Emotions around AVs are complicated and contradictory: many fear for their safety when getting in an AV now, but aspire to an AI-driven world with many fewer accidents. Activating the ‘right’ emotions—relaxation, pride, and security and the ‘wrong’ emotions—anxiety and paranoia, will be critical to widespread adoption.”

About this Research

This study was conducted as part of CMB’s self-funded Consumer Pulse program. A report with additional findings from this study is available as a free download. Data was collected from 2,000 U.S. residents, aged 18+ through Dynata’s online panel in January of 2019. Click the link to download the report:

About CMB

CMB, a wholly-owned subsidiary by ITA Group, is a custom market research firm collaborating on game-changing initiatives, including market identification and segmentation, brand health, rejuvenating tired trackers, loyalty and advocacy growth, and product and service development. A highly custom approach, innovative design, and rock-solid execution ensure executives get the answers they need to engage, innovate, and grow

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