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Consumer confusion over the future of mobility

The lowest understanding was in the 18-23 and 24-36 years age groups, even though these are among the most likely adopters

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The study showed stark differences in understanding of future mobility across Europe
The study showed stark differences in understanding of future mobility across Europe

Nearly half of consumers do not understand the definitions of ‘connected’ and ‘autonomous’ vehicles and younger people are the least likely to understand the definition of an autonomous vehicle, despite being the most likely to adopt, says a new report.

 

Mind the (Mobility) Gap, published by global mobility company, Avis Budget Group, also found that Italy and France lead the way with their levels of understanding of connected cars while Norway, Denmark and the UK lag behind.

 

The study, carried out by Sapio Research in July this year, surveyed 14,000 people in 14 countries across Europe and found a significant knowledge gap in consumer understanding around the future of mobility, with marked differences in awareness and understanding between countries and age groups.

 

Connected cars

 

The research asked respondents to select the correct definition of the term ‘connected car’. Just over half (54 per cent) correctly took the term to mean ‘a car connected to the Internet which could talk to other devices’, while 17 per cent were unsure or didn’t understand the term. One in ten (13 per cent) incorrectly understood it to mean a car connected to a power supply to charge its battery, while seven per cent believed it to be a car physically attached to another.

 

Autonomous vehicles

 

More than half (56 per cent) of those surveyed correctly identified the term ‘autonomous car’ to mean a car which drives itself but almost one in five (17 per cent) took it to mean a car driven by an ‘artificial intelligence droid’, seven per cent believed it to be a car that must be parked in its own parking spot or away from traffic.

 

The lowest understanding of the term was found to be among the 18-23 (47 per cent) and 24-36 (51 per cent) age groups, compared to 67 per cent for those aged 66-plus, despite younger age groups being the most likely to prefer an autonomous car over the one they currently own.

 

The highest propensity to choose an autonomous car was found among those aged 24-36 (49 per cent) and 18-23 (47 per cent) compared to just 26 per cent of the 66-plus age group.

“It’s clear as an industry we need to educate consumers across markets and age groups, highlighting the innovations and technological advances that have been made”

The research went on to reveal marked differences in understanding of these two key themes of future mobility across the 14 European countries surveyed. Respondents in France had the highest understanding of the correct definition of a connected car (72 per cent), followed by Italy (71 per cent) and Portugal (68 per cent). By contrast, Norway recorded the lowest understanding at just 35 per cent, slightly behind Denmark (37 per cent) and the UK (37 per cent).

 

Need for education

 

“This study highlights the stark gap in levels of understanding across Europe about mobility technologies. It’s clear as an industry we need to educate consumers across markets and age groups, highlighting the innovations and technological advances that have been made – which have helped make developments that were once only seen in science fiction, a reality,” said Mark Servodidio, president, international, Avis Budget Group.

 

“As a global mobility business with a 70-year heritage, we are at the forefront of the shifting mobility landscape and we will continue to guide our customers on this journey as we evolve our business to meet their changing needs and preferences.”

 

On the definition of an autonomous vehicle, Germany topped the awareness charts with 69 per cent, followed by Austria (68 per cent) and Switzerland (68 per cent). Interestingly, given their high awareness of connected cars, those in Italy recorded one of the lowest understanding of autonomous vehicles with just 46 per cent, slightly behind the Netherlands (48 per cent) and ahead of Norway (44 per cent).

 

Safety concerns

 

Safety and responsibility were, perhaps inevitably, found to be key issues around autonomous vehicles. Six in ten respondents (60 per cent) said that they would not feel safe if all cars on the road were fully autonomous, while the vast majority think that in order to ride in a self-driving car, people should be sober (86 per cent), of legal driving age (87 per cent) and hold a standard driving license (87 per cent).

 

Avis Budget Group has more than 100,000 connected vehicles in its global fleet and a commitment to ensuring 100 per cent of its vehicles are connected by 2020. It is currently working with a number of partners including:

  • Waymo to support its self-driving vehicle venture
  • Kansas City where it leverages its fleet of connected cars to act as data-collectors for depth and accuracy of street condition data to improve safety and planning.
  • RocketSpace, a leading technology campus for start-up and corporate innovators, to identify market opportunities and fuel cross-industry innovation as part of its mobility technology accelerator.

 

If you like this, you might be interested in the following:

 

Connected cars equal smarter cities

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Cities urged to get in the autonomous driving

Report from Siemens urges urban areas to use connected and autonomous vehicles to refocus urban environments on citizens rather than cars

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Moving towards the Internet of Transportation

The future of transport that we’ve been promised for decades is closer than we think, says John Frazer, CCO at DAV, a blockchain-based transportation platform.

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