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Tech Companies and Automakers Most Trusted to Develop Driverless Cars

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【Summary】Only four percent mentioned they would be willing to trust companies like Uber and Lyft to work on self-driving technology.

Michael Cheng    May 29, 2017 6:25 AM PT
Tech Companies and Automakers Most Trusted to Develop Driverless Cars

The self-driving industry has attracted a wide range of companies, from tech giants to traditional automakers. Some, like Google's Waymo, are heavy on developing software and sensing hardware, while leaving the development of other core vehicular components to its partners. On the other end of the spectrum, you have automakers, like Ford and General Motors, that are simply bridging the technology gap by integrating autonomous systems in their existing products.

From the perspective of consumers, the trustworthiness of driverless vehicles may come down to the company developing the technology. This is the conclusion that INRIX Research, a firm that specializes in connected car services and location-based analytics, uncovered in its latest ground-breaking study.

"A new battleground is emerging between automakers, tech companies and ridesharing companies in the race to develop connected and autonomous vehicles," explained Bob Pishue, senior economist at INRIX. "With hundreds of millions of connected cars expected to be on the roads within the next 15 years, the market share will be owned by companies that can educate drivers and gain consumer trust."

Measuring Trust and Confidence

The study compiled results from a survey consisting of 5,045 drivers based in the US, France, Germany and the UK. Surprisingly, a whopping 30 percent of UK-based respondents and 27 percent for US-based survey participants collectively agreed that conventional auto manufacturers were to be trusted in developing autonomous vehicles. Tech companies came in second, taking roughly 20 percent of the trustworthiness pie.

For ride-hailing businesses, the results are grim. Only four percent mentioned they would be willing to trust companies like Uber and Lyft to work on self-driving technology. Out of the two startups, Lyft seems to have a better chance at winning over skeptical consumers. The company could easily leverage its partnership with General Motors and Waymo to catapult its status in the autonomous driving space.

Tesla didn't favor well in the study, possibly due to lack of experience in the automotive industry, compared to automakers with decades of understanding and knowledge of the rapidly evolving sector. This shows that familiarity is a huge factor that all businesses in the space must overcome.

Coping with Security-related Issues

The INRIX study also highlights specific concerns that consumers have about self-driving technology, which offers insights surrounding the results above. When it comes to preventing security breaches in connected cars, Generation X and Millennials prefer to leave it in the hands of tech companies. The following autonomous features are the most critical, according to the respondents: blind spot warning, night vision, traffic alerts, front and rear collision alerts, stolen car tracking and re-routing.

The majority of survey participants agreed that autonomous cars will make public roads safer, contributing to less accidents caused by human error. Over half (62 percent) expect to see an overflow of driverless cars within the next decade. Early adoption of self-driving vehicles is expected to mostly come from Millennials and Generation Z.

"Partnerships are a solution to help you appeal to all age groups. If companies want to sell autonomous vehicles, this is going to be a challenge," explained Pishue. 

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