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Study Reveals Consumer Views on Driverless Car Makers, Tech and Trust

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【Summary】According to the study, consumers trust Tesla the most with manufacturing autonomous cars in the luxury auto segment (26.6 percent).

Michael Cheng    Apr 02, 2019 1:30 PM PT
Study Reveals Consumer Views on Driverless Car Makers, Tech and Trust

Consumers are the driving force of large-scale industries, including auto. In the case of autonomous cars, it is important to understand the general public's views on the nascent technology. Such data can help streamline adoption and boost awareness about complex aspects of driverless operation.

A survey conducted by UK-based Leasing Options is the latest study to highlight consumer outlook regarding autonomous vehicles. The study focused on carmakers developing driverless platforms, public trust across multiple auto segments, major investments and tech businesses with key roles in the industry.

Auto Brands, Public Trust and Tech Developers

According to the study, consumers trust Tesla the most with manufacturing autonomous cars in the luxury auto segment (26.6 percent). In the executive brand category, Volvo sits at first place (22.6 percent), closely followed by Volkswagen (22.4 percent). Within the budget auto segment, Hyundai comfortably nabbed the top spot with 46.7 percent.

For taxi companies, survey participants only had two choices: Lyft and Uber. Surprisingly, Uber dominated the category, with 74.3 percent favoring the startup over Lyft (25.7 percent).

When it comes to tech companies in the sector, survey respondents view Cupertino-based Apple to be the most capable developer of self-driving cars (31.3 percent). Next is Google (Waymo) at 25.4 percent, followed by Samsung (16.2 percent), Amazon (15.6 percent) and Microsoft (11.5 percent).

Based on the figures above, there seems to be a disconnect between the views of the general public and tech businesses leading development of driverless vehicles. Waymo is currently way ahead of the group, with ongoing trials in major cities. Furthermore, other crucial tech players seem to be missing from the survey, such as NVIDIA, Intel and BlackBerry.

"The technology companies realized there's a lot they didn't know; they didn't want to literally reinvent the wheel. It's better, faster and cheaper to work with the auto industry," cited Richard Wallace, Vice President of Transportation System Analysis at the Center for Automotive Research. 

Despite conflicting viewpoints, consumers are betting on Waymo to build and release the first fully autonomous car, followed by General Motors (GM), Apple and Daimler (Daimler-Bosch).

Following the Money Trail

To date, investors across the globe have poured over $100 billion into developing autonomous vehicles. Taking a lion's share of the total amount is Volkswagen, which has invested a staggering $54.2 billion – making up roughly 57 percent of the pie. Tech giant Samsung sits in second place, contributing $8 billion to the emerging sector. This is interesting, as Samsung rarely makes headlines about pioneering driverless technology. Instead it has taken a backseat-approach to development, by focusing on 5G infrastructure and ADAS software.

Ford captured the third spot with investments amounting to $5.39 billion. Other notable investors include the following:  Daimler ($3.04 billion), Audi ($3 billion), Softbank ($2.27 billion), Uber ($1.88 billion) and Apple ($1 billion).

"Ford's not trying to be the first to market. Their goal is to have the right kind of business developed specifically for autonomous service, not an adaptation of an existing vehicle," said Sam Abuelsamid, Senior Analyst at Navigant.

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