More and more drivers see benefits to autonomous driving, but there is still skepticism, particularly in Europe: Continental study
Driver assistance systems and automated driving are gaining acceptance worldwide. In China and Japan in particular, openness to the benefits of automated driving is already high, while people in Germany, France and the USA continue to have a wait-and-see attitude. Overall, the technological possibilities in terms of automated driving are far more advanced than the current willingness of drivers to use them. The situation is different, however, for driver assistance systems – here there is a consistently high degree of openness in all five countries, especially when it comes to safety-related functions. These are the key findings of the latest Continental Mobility Study, in which the social research institute infas surveyed representative samples of around 1,000 people in each of the five countries above regarding their mobility habits.
“The high level of confidence in driver assistance systems indicates that as these become more widespread, confidence in automated driving will automatically grow. Our experience has shown that acceptance increases as people get to know and understand the functions in question. Extensive testing is therefore key. This should be carried out in real-life traffic conditions in order to understand how people interact with the systems. In turn, this will provide important findings that can be incorporated into the further development of the technology,” says Frank Petznick, head of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems business unit at Continental.
What is clear from the survey is that most drivers tend to sit at the wheel of their car out of conviction. Although new technologies are important to them, fully giving up control is still unimaginable for many people. In Germany, France and the USA in particular, the majority of respondents indicated that they would be reluctant to hand over control of the wheel to technology. More than half of those surveyed in each of the three countries believe that automated driving is useful, but also a little frightening. This view is particularly noticeable in the USA, where 75 percent of respondents are concerned about the issue – significantly more than in the other countries surveyed. At the same time, this figure has not changed since 2018.
The large contrast compared to the Far East is striking. In China and Japan, people have much more positive view of the technology. 91 percent of respondents in China and 82 percent in Japan consider automated driving to be a useful development. In addition, 79 percent (China) and 67 percent (Japan) expect the technology to become a permanent feature of everyday road traffic in the next five to ten years.
There is a lot of agreement across the countries in terms of the current arguments against automated driving: in all countries, around 80 percent of respondents say that legislation has so far not created a relevant framework for technical development on the manufacturer side. They also argue that policymakers should establish central guiding principles for use in daily road traffic.