A recent survey conducted by SAE International found that while public enthusiasm is increasing for self-driving cars, most of the participants want to share the control of the vehicle.
Of the 1,400 participants that took part in the SAE Demo Days survey, 92 percent want to have control shared between human and self-driving. Eighty-two percent were initially enthusiastic for self-driving cars, with nearly 10 percent of participants reporting higher enthusiasm post-ride. Ninety-four percent of participants were first-time riders in an autonomous vehicle.
The free public self-driving car demonstrations were conducted between November 2017 and April 2019 in Detroit, Los Angeles, Tampa and Babcock Ranch, Florida. More than 2,000 rides were given at the events, which allowed the public to experience the technology first-hand and captured their sentiment.
“Public acceptance is vital to the future of self-driving cars. Through SAE Demo Days, we are engaging the public directly and inviting them to take a ride,” said Mark Chung, chief marketing officer at SAE International.
While each demo was customized, there were four main elements: a pre- and post-ride survey; the ride in the self-driving car, engagement with interactive displays and a chat with experts.
The pre-ride and post-ride surveys contained a mix of modal, brand, consumer use and mobility opinion-based questions.
The data from all four demos was compiled to create a discussion starter for industry, regulators, technology suppliers, vehicle makers and others impacted by self-driving technology and those seeking to understand public sentiment.
The design of the SAE Demo Days survey was a collaboration effort between SAE and its strategic partners.
“We believe that SAE is performing important, foundational work on public perception of autonomy, and we are very pleased to partner with SAE by delivering autonomous transports,” said Dave Hofert, chief marketing officer at Perrone Robotics, a Demo Days partner. “As a company that offers autonomous technology and transportation, we need to understand how the public perceives autonomy.”
The first group taking part in the survey were in Los Angeles, California in mid-November, 2017 in a retrofitted Lincoln MKZ. The second group was in early April, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan in a retrofitted Lincoln MKZ and Chrysler Pacifica. The third group was in Tampa, Florida in early May, 2018 also in a retrofitted Lincoln MKZ. The last group was in mid-December at Babcock Ranch in Punta Gorda, Florida in a retrofitted 2016 Range Rover Sport HSE.
SAE International is a global association committed to advancing mobility knowledge and solutions for the benefit of humanity.