A Boston Consulting Group study shows that Americans are enthusiastic about autonomous vehicles, auto piloted and self-driving cars with many willing to pay $4,000 to $5,000 more for a car with autonomous features. There are some who fear problems with security, safety and reliability.
About 55% of those survey said that they would consider buying a partially self-driving car, and 44% said that they would consider buying a fully autonomous vehicle.
The level of consumer interest in self-driving cars is higher and more intense than it was for electric vehicles (EVs) prior to their introduction and suggests that autonomous vehicle adoption may be faster and more widespread than the slow pace of EV adoption.
For those who wouldn’t buy an an autonomous vehicle, the biggest considerations appear to be reliability, cyber security, and uncertainty about AV interactions with other vehicles on the road.
24% of surveyed consumers said that they would be willing to pay more than $4,000 extra for an autonomous feature, while 17% said they would pay more than $5,000 for a fully autonomous car. The lack of a clear preference for a specific feature, however, presents automakers with a challenge: which feature or features should they prioritize in their research and development?
It’s going to take a lot software, for example the latest Mercedes S-class vehicle, which is loaded with several ADAS features, contains roughly 15 times more lines of code than the software in a Boeing 787. The quantity of code required will multiply as automakers move from ADAS to partial autonomy and then full autonomy.
BCG reports that automakers should succeed in penetrating the market with AV features, initially by targeting the consumers who indicated that they would be willing to pay more than $5,000 for them.
The combined market for partially and fully autonomous vehicles will develop gradually until it reaches roughly 25% of new-vehicle sales. ADAS features, in the meantime, will continue their growth including their impact.
BCG notes that AVs also raise urgent questions for public authorities.
The deployment of AV features will require regulators, automakers, insurance companies, and safety administrations— to design and enact legislation that will define the needed infrastructure, allocate liability and set minimum technological requirements. They will also need to devise systems for measuring changes in auto safety.