movmi at Web Summit: Learning how to get Consumers to Accept Self-Driving Vehicles, by Ashley Cho

Web Summit 2017 Lisbon
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Web Summit is an unfathomably large conference with over 60,000 people in attendance. To say there’s always something happening is an understatement. In addition to the presentations, workshops, pitch competition, mentoring sessions and conference-organized night events, there’s also informal side-events (e.g. lunch with block-chain enthusiasts and Worldwide Network of Women dinner). I’m sure there’s side-events I didn’t even hear about because there were so many!

web summit 2017

Out of all the presentations at the Web Summit, the talk that stood out to me was presented by Michelle Krebs, Director of Automotive Relations at AutoTrader Group. She discussed the four essentials for consumer acceptance of self-driving cars. She explained that the major issue consumers have with self-driving vehicles is giving up control. Another reason is that a lot of people simply love driving their cars and wouldn’t want to give up that experience for a self-driving vehicle.

4 Essentials to Accepting Self-Driving Cars

Thus, to overcome these barriers, AutoTrader identified four essentials to gain consumer acceptance:

  1. Education: Based on AutoTrader’s study, 6 out of 10 people do not know much or anything about what autonomous vehicles are. This shows that companies have to invest in educating the market to make people comfortable with the idea of self-driving cars. (Note: it’s been shown that people prefer the term ‘self-driving cars’ as opposed to ‘driverless’ cars.)
  2. Experience: AutoTrader’s study found that people who drove luxury cars are more likely to be accepting of self-driving cars than non-luxury drivers. This is likely because luxury drivers are more education on self-driving cars and are more likely to experience driverless features with their current cars.
  3. Economics: Many people think self-driving cars will be too expensive to purchase and too expensive to fix. They are also concerned about software hacks. These responses should be taken with a grain of salt, as many respondents assumed the traditional car ownership model for self-driving vehicles instead of other possible pricing models such as a subscription model. On the flip side, respondents would consider purchasing self-driving vehicles if their insurance costs were reduced, vehicles were priced affordably and the consumer received a tax break.
  4. Enhancing Lives: While the majority (51%) believe self-driving cars will make the roads safer, many do not want to give up control (49%) to do so. As it stands today, people are most comfortable with the Level 4 autonomy which allows people the ability to drive if they want to override the self-driving vehicle.

With these findings, movmi echoes Autotrader’s findings that the consumer is still be in the driver’s seat as self-driving vehicles are rolled out into the public. This is unsurprising because it aligns with movmi’s consumer-centric approach.

If you would like to hear more about our thoughts on the Web Summit conference, please contact us with your questions.


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