Here's How Much Drivers Are Willing to Pay for Fully Driverless Cars

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【Summary】According to a new study, some consumers are willing to pay up to $10,000 for a fully autonomous car.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    May 19, 2017 12:20 PM PT
Here's How Much Drivers Are Willing to Pay for Fully Driverless Cars

One major question that automakers and technology companies haven't answered in the pursuit of autonomous technology is: how much money are drivers willing to pay for the tech? Tesla Motors, one of the first automakers to equip its vehicles with self-driving technology charges a hefty amount for the tech on its electric vehicles.

Tesla Sets Market Value For Self-Driving Tech

At the time of writing, equipping a Tesla Model S with "Enhanced Autopilot" is an additional $5,000 on top of the vehicle. For consumers that decide they want the package after getting the vehicle delivered, the cost increases $1,000 to $6,000. And for those looking for a fully-autonomous vehicle, there's the "Full Self-Driving Capability" package, which doubles the number of active cameras to eight in total for $3,000. That figure goes up to $4,000 after the vehicle is delivered. 

While that would seem like a hefty amount of money for the technology, it looks like Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, has priced the self-driving software and hardware accordingly. 

According to a new study that was conducted last year by a group of researchers, "the average household is willing to pay a significant amount for automation: $3,500 for partial automation and $4,900 for full automation." The study involved asking a cross-section of the U.S. population about the different levels of automation: none, partial, and full, reports 

Partially autonomous vehicles are equipped with automated crash avoidance systems, claims, while a fully-autonomous vehicle can completely operate on its own, as the outlet refers to the Google car as an example. The results, according to the report, varied based on vehicle ownership, education level, and general understanding of the technology. 

What's Hold Drivers Back From Buying The Tech

The results revealed that some of those that were questioned were reluctant to spend money on the technology, while others claimed they were interested in purchasing a package, even if it cost a substantial amount of money, once it became available. 

"Consumer acceptance is critical to forecast adoption rates, especially if one considers that there may be strong barriers to entry (potential high costs, concerns that technology may fail," states the study. 

A lot of drivers, then, are skeptical of the autonomous trend that's currently taking place in the automotive industry, but the majority of people are still willing to pay for the tech. As the study claims, the amount that individuals are willing to pay varies drastically by household. A large amount of consumers that participated in the study claimed that they would pay above $10,000 for a fully autonomous vehicle. 

The majority of the participants, though, fall well into what Tesla's charging its autonomous technology for, as the study points out, revealing that the first automaker to fit its car with driverless technology has set the industry standard. Now, it's up to other companies and automakers to price their vehicles accordingly. 


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