Autonomous driving: Lack of acceptance for self-driving cars

With a lot of effort, technology companies and automakers are pushing autonomous driving forward. But acceptance in the public is still missing. This is one of the results of a recent Deloitte study.

The visions of the automakers and Internet giants often show a relaxed, harmonious city life without traffic jams and stress in their advertising films. Traffic control and vehicles run completely automatically and emission-free.

Initial successes led to an increase in the acceptance of such vehicles at the beginning. But from the start, there also were many doubters, who were then confirmed by the first accidents of automated cars. This skepticism seems to be consolidating further. That, at least, is one of the findings of the Global Automotive Consumer Study conducted by consulting firm Deloitte. Accordingly, 47 percent of German study participants doubt that autonomously driving cars are safe. This is followed by half of the participants and Japanese and Americans. But only 29 of the Italians and 25 percent of the Chinese are skeptical of the new technology.

The problem remains, according to the study, in the area of ​​safety. For example, media reporting on accidents involving self-driving cars had a negative impact on the image of autonomous driving. This was stated by 56 percent of the German participants. In the UK and the Netherlands, it was even two-thirds.

Another hurdle could be a lack of connectivity acceptance. Because safely moving autonomously on the roads also requires a constant communication with other vehicles and parts of the infrastructure. This only works if the vehicle is equipped accordingly. But here, too, many respondents block. Particularly in Germany, two-thirds consider neither the benefits nor the data security sufficient. In a global comparison, they are pretty much alone. Again, the Chinese are relatively relaxed and believe in the benefits of connectivity to 80 percent, followed by India (76 percent) and South Africa with 66 percent.

While autonomous driving is still struggling with its acceptance, e-mobility is on the rise. In Germany, the alternative drive type receives a small boost with now 37 percent of respondents. In the previous year there were still 34 percent. Much more positive are the Italians with over half of the participants compared to the e-cars. This also applies to China and Japan with 65 and 59 percent.

Of course, the validity of a study can always be argued. Yet, the Deloitte investigation shows at least a mood barometer and that does not look good for self-driving cars.


Ralf Johanning

Ralf Johanning studied political science and works as a freelance journalist. For over ten years now he reports on the transportation and logistics industry. The priorities include topics such as telematics, software, and ICT. In 2006 the trained editor, Head, and Press Officer founded the editorial office Alte Schule with his partner Ann-Christin Wimber.

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