By: Mike Scott, Marketing Director; Sara Beauchaine, Marketing Associate
Would you trust an autonomous vehicle? More importantly, would you purchase an autonomous vehicle today?
Technology giants Google and Apple have strong brands and are among the most recognized companies in the world. Yet even when these brands are attached to questions asked of consumers about autonomous vehicles, our January Omnibus revealed that consumers are not only hesitant about “trusting” autonomous vehicles, but about purchasing them as well.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. There are various stages of progress that will need to occur long before consumers would be comfortable taking a “cat nap” while their self-driving vehicle transports them from point A to point B. At this point, there is a curiosity that consumers have around the topic but not a clear understanding of what defines “autonomous.”
Officially, Apple hasn’t announced that it is in the autonomous vehicle business, but Google has. Our recent Morpace Omnibus found that a total of 31 percent of consumers “somewhat” trust or “completely” trust an autonomous vehicle with Google technology. Another 31 percent don’t trust the technology, leaving the largest percentage–38 percent–undecided.
In addition, only a minority of consumers are willing to purchase an autonomous vehicle at this time. Price could be a factor, but it’s likely that trust plays a role in the answers we received as well. Overall, 58 percent are “unlikely” or “extremely unlikely” to purchase an autonomous vehicle with Google technology, compared to 59 percent for an autonomous vehicle with Apple technology.
Finally, there was little separation between the price consumers are willing to pay for autonomous vehicles powered by Google versus Apple. Eight-in-ten consumers are not willing to pay more than $40,000, which is the base price for some higher-end standard powertrain SUVs in today’s market. The average price most consumers are willing to pay is less than $28,000, with virtually no difference in the median value for Apple versus Google autonomous vehicles.
As it turns out, we may have found one thing that the powerful brands of Google and Apple can’t directly impact—consumers’ perceptions on autonomous vehicles. Discussions and media reports surrounding autonomous vehicles are becoming more prevalent, and it is clear that education needs to be developed before a majority of consumers feel comfortable enough to drive or purchase a “self-driving” vehicle.
There is a long learning curve ahead for consumers before the autonomous technology “war” among the industry giants, not to mention the automotive OEMs, can begin in earnest.