Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) will transform the lives of more than seven out of 10 young people, according to new research published by Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Its Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Revolutionising Mobility in Society, report, which it says is the first UK-based study of the human impact of CAVs, canvassed the views of more than 3,600 consumers and results suggest that this new technology will offer unprecedented levels of freedom to young people whose lives are currently restricted by costly or infrequent public transport, or prohibitively expensive car insurance.
The research, conducted with Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting arm, indicates CAVs have the potential to significantly reduce social exclusion. 71% of survey respondents aged between 17 and 24 said this new technology would improve their quality of life. Meanwhile, 69% said they feel positive about CAVs, with almost half (49%) saying they would get in one today if they could.
Automatic braking and parking and the car’s ability to self-diagnose faults were cited as key attractions of CAVs, contributing to a reduction in driving stress – the biggest attraction of owning a CAV among this group. Meanwhile connected entertainment features such as music and video streaming were also appealing. Freedom to travel spontaneously and socialise with friends and family were also seen as life-changing benefits, with 88% of people who believe CAVs will improve their social life saying a CAV would help them get out of the house more regularly.
The report says mobility is a challenge for many young people, with more than a quarter (29%) saying the cost of car ownership, particularly high insurance premiums, restricts their freedom. They also cited the high cost and infrequency of public transport as a barrier. The potential for saving money, therefore, was highlighted as a key benefit of connected and autonomous vehicles.
Other advantages included the ability to access further education such as A-Levels, a degree or a post-graduate qualification, while 15% said they believe CAVs will provide greater employment choices. In fact, Strategy& calculates that CAVs have the potential to give one million more people access to higher education, enabling them to increase their earning potential by an estimated average of £8,509 per year.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles are life-changing, offering more people greater independence, freedom to socialise, work and earn more, and access services more easily. While fully autonomous cars will be a step change for society, this report shows young people are already tuning into their benefits – and it’s great to see tomorrow’s new car buyers getting excited about the vehicles they’ll be driving in the future. The challenge now is to meet this excitement by creating policy to allow this technology to thrive, given how it will deliver these wider societal advantages.”