Adoption of autonomous vehicles: Consumers are braking!

It will be a technological revolution with major social and cultural impacts that the arrival on the market of autonomous cars will bring. The result will be real business opportunities, even for companies that have not yet forged apparent links with the automotive industry, such as Google's Alphabet Autonomous Driving subsidiary, or GM's Cruise subsidiary. But in Deloitte's latest global survey on automobile consumption, about 10,000 consumers from France, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom shared their views on critical issues impacting the automotive sector. This is a far cry from the Californian tech euphoria about the autonomous car ...
As the world ready for autonomous cars? First of all, there are laws that differ from country to country. The Convention on Road Traffic signed by 70 countries in Vienna in 1968 (with the exception of the USA and China) establishes principles to govern traffic laws. One of the fundamental principles of the Convention is that a driver always has full control and responsibility for the behaviour of a vehicle in traffic. A driverless car is a vehicle capable of detecting its environment and moving with little or no human intervention. In summary, the system of a driverless car assumes full responsibility for driving . 
According to Guillaume Devauchelle, Valéo's Director of Innovation, in a interview at FranceTV info, one must imagine "In the U.S., the millions of hours saved instead of watching your vehicle all the time where it feels like you're wasting your time, or in the U.S., the endless straight highways, or in other countries with an aging population. While the causes are very different from one country to another, everywhere in the world there is a real willingness to make progress on this issue. »
So, how will we get around in ten or fifteen years?

Consumers less confident about autonomous vehicles

As autonomous vehicle (AV) technology comes closer to a real and evolving application, consumer confidence in the safety of these vehicles appears to be waning, according to the Deloitte study.
French consumers prove to be more confident than other Europeans towards VA: only 36% of French consumers say they are sceptical about VA in 2019 (vs. 65% in 2017) compared to 50% on average for other Europeans, who feel that VA is not yet sufficiently safe.
If the confidence of Europeans is not yet there, this can be explained for more than 50% of them by the negative impact of the media coverage of accidents caused by autonomous vehicles. Consequently, more than 50% of Europeans are calling for the involvement and control of States in the development of IL.
Only the Italians remain confident since 70% of them think that VA are safe.

A move towards the electric

This year's study highlighted growing consumer interest in electric vehicles (EVs), revealing that electrification could have a more immediate impact on global mobility than standalone vehicles.
Although some barriers to mass adoption remain, demand for alternative propulsion systems is growing across Europe due to favourable environmental policies, the commitment of major brands and changing consumer attitudes. Interest has grown fastest in the UK, with 37 % of consumers willing to choose an alternative propulsion, hybrid, battery or other, 10 % more than last year.
Nevertheless in France, there are still 54% to plan a combustion engine for their next purchase, 63% in Germany and in the UK.
Hybrid electric appears to be the natural second choice for the next vehicle purchase, for 37% in France, 26% in Germany, 27% in the UK. The "full electric" For its part, remains a niche choice: 4% of respondents would choose an electric car in France and the UK, 5% in Germany, 6% in Belgium and up to 9% in the Netherlands.
EVs can help reduce the impact of fossil combustion on the environment. Autonomous vehicles have the potential to significantly improve road safety by reducing driving errors. These are undeniably positive goals, but they can be difficult to achieve.

The mobility revolution in the face of headwinds

The mobility revolution seems to be coming up against entrenched consumer habits: consumers remain attached to owning a private car, the use of mountain bikes is slowing down and multimodal transport remains an occasional behaviour. However, the study reveals a clear generational gap, suggesting that the future of shared mobility may depend on younger generations who are natively more comfortable with digital technologies.
- The private car continues to prevail: Daily use of personal vehicles is quite high in some European markets, but even where it is lower, the status quo is expected to be maintained in the coming years. The French do not envisage a drastic change in the use of their personal vehicle: 43% of them use it daily and 41% do not envisage changing their habits within the next 3 years. In Europe, the percentage of consumers who use their own vehicle every day ranges from 37 % in the Netherlands to 66 % in Italy, and is expected to remain so over the next three years.
- Multimodal transport remains weak: The idea of integrating several modes of mobility, such as a metro or suburban train in addition to a private vehicle, into a single trip remains largely an occasional behaviour for consumers, with more than 53% of Europeans: 57% of the French, 59% of the British and 67% of the Italians.
- VTC usage is slowing: Although VTCs have been integrated in some markets, the number of people reporting regular use of VTCs has declined over the past two years.
- Generational divide: Youth are more likely to question whether owning a vehicle is a necessity. France leads the way, with 51 % of Gen Y/Z questioning the need to own a vehicle, followed by 41 % of Gen X and 32 % of Baby Boomers.

In addition to new transport options, connectivity has opened up a range of new choices for consumers 

- Top priorities: An overwhelming majority of respondents overwhelmingly favoured connected features that would save time and ensure safety: traffic information and alternative routes, suggestions for safer routes and warnings to improve road safety and prevent potential collisions were always ranked among the top three expectations for connected cars.
- Consumers divided on the benefits of connectivity: In terms of in-vehicle connectivity, expectations vary widely between countries. Italians estimate that 60% will benefit from increased connectivity in their vehicle, compared to 45% for the UK and 36% for the French.
- Data collection and privacy: Connected vehicle sensors can collect everything from propulsion performance, operating statistics, geolocation information and passenger well-being. More than half of respondents in Austria, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands are concerned about biometric data being recorded by a connected vehicle and then shared, while a smaller percentage of consumers in Belgium, France and Italy expressed similar concerns.
- Who should manage the data? Consumer concerns extend to the question of who should manage the data generated and shared by connected vehicles. While 34% of respondents in France, 31% in Germany and 27% in the UK would trust original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in this role, many would prefer it to be managed by others - from government to car dealerships, insurance companies, cloud service providers, or others.
- Reluctance to pay for connectivity: Even when consumers are convinced by a feature, they are not willing to pay for it. About half of consumers in France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Germany are not willing to pay more for a connected vehicle. The most willing to pay for connected services are Italy (72%) and the United Kingdom (63%).
Utopian visions of the future of mobility will not become reality overnight. As consumers around the world begin to critically evaluate advanced automotive technologies and determine whether they are willing to pay for them.
"While the promise of the technologies is becoming a reality for many consumers, our study reveals that there are still many hurdles to overcome. This is true in terms of the acceptability of the autonomous vehicle, the understanding of the added value provided by connected services, and the understanding of the value of new mobilities. The individual car as we know it still has a few good years ahead of it. » explains Guillaume Crunelle, Deloitte Partner in charge of the automotive sector.
Source: Deloitte
Methodology: From September to October 2018, Deloitte surveyed more than 25,000 consumers in 20 countries around the world to explore their preferences on a variety of critical issues impacting the automotive industry. The overall objective of the survey is to answer important questions that can help companies prioritize and better position their business strategies and investments.
To go further
Impatient chronicle of daily mobility d'Olivier Razemon - Edition Rue de l'échiquier, January 2019 - 224 Pages

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