A survey of 18,000 people in the Australian state of Victoria has suggested the number of people who would want a driverless car has fallen since last year, but that they do want more advanced driver assistance features in their human-driven vehicles.
In what is thought to be the largest survey in the world, EastLink has found 29% of men and 17% of women would want a fully self-driving vehicle on all roads, compared with 35% and 22% last year.
However, more motorists say they want, and use, semi-automated driver assistance features like lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.
EastLink says these results support its expectation that semi-automated driver assistance features will become commonplace before fully autonomous vehicles.
The survey also found eight in ten motorists would travel as a passenger in a fully self-driving car where the vehicle has a driver who is monitoring and able to take over control. However, the majority of motorists would not yet travel as a passenger in a fully self-driving car where the vehicle is completely driver-less and there are no driving controls.
A significant proportion of motorists expect that fully self-driving vehicles should be absolutely 100% safe with no possibility of ever being involved in a collision, even though “this is an unrealistic expectation”.
“These are significant hurdles for the vehicle automation industry to overcome,” EastLink says, adding it “believes that motorists must first become accustomed to, and gain trust in driver assistance technologies, using these technologies every day in their family car before they will accept fully self-driving cars.”
Compared to last year, demand for connected car features is largely unchanged. A clear majority of motorists still “definitely want” their next car to be connected to a data network for traffic warnings, road condition warnings and vehicle security features.
The toll operator says this demonstrates the importance of EastLink’s trials of 5.9GHz infrastructure to vehicle communications, which started this year. A major focus of these trials is the delivery of information about road and traffic conditions to the vehicle for presentation to the driver during the journey, to better inform the driver about the road ahead.