Consumers on Board with Self-Driving Cars, Airplanes

Seven out of ten consumers think autonomous cars drive better than those with humans behind the wheel.

Consumers on Board with Self-Driving Cars, Airplanes
Self-driving vehicle in traffic 4X-image/iStock

Self-driving cars are no longer reserved for futuristic movies and literature. These days they are becoming a reality and consumers across the world are on board with the new way to get from point A to point B. 

That's according to a new survey conducted by ANSYS, the engineering simulation software company. In its new ANSYS Global Autonomous Vehicles Report, it found seven out of 10 consumers think autonomous cars drive better and will be more advanced than humans by 2029. 

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Most want to wait for the technology to be perfected 

The group surveyed more than 22,000 people in Benelux, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and U.S., to get their thoughts on the self-driving car market. What the company found is consumers want to use autonomous travel with some willing to ride in self-driving cars and planes today. The majority, however, want to wait until the technology is perfected before boarding a plane without a pilot. 

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"We are at the threshold of a fully autonomous era that will revolutionize global transportation. This report confirms the world’s optimism – but also legitimate concerns – for AVs," said Eric Bantegnie, vice president and general manager of the systems business unit at ANSYS in a press release highlighting the research. "To drive worldwide AV adoption, manufacturers must prove the technology is safer and more reliable than humans. ANSYS simulation solutions make that possible."

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Indians very open to self-driving cars

According to the survey, 77% of respondents said they would drive in an autonomous car in their lifetime while 50% said they would do so within the next five years.  Of the respondents, 14% said they would hop on board today. Of the countries surveyed ANSYS found people living in India were the most open to riding in a self-driving car today while in the UK they were the most skeptical. Just 8% said they were comfortable with autonomous cars today although more than half said they would ride in one during their lifetime. 

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As for how these self-driving cars stack up with the skills of human drivers, the survey found most think the technology will improve in the next decade with autonomous vehicles eventually possessing more skills than human drivers. Of the respondents, 13% think that is the case today. People living in Japan have the most trust in technology compared to the other countries polled. 

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Automated planes are already a reality 

As for self-driving airplanes, ANSYS found 70% said they would fly in one during their lifetime while 21% said they would do it now or within a year while 21% said they would do so within five years. Of the respondents in China, 97% said they would feel comfortable flying in an autonomous airplane in their lifetime. That compares to 46% in the UK. 

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"Although the public shares some safety concerns about both modes of transportation, many of those surveyed trust the technology that operates these vehicles. 71% of respondents believe that autonomous cars are better drivers than humans or will surpass human abilities within 10 years. 70% of consumers were comfortable with flying in an autonomous plane in their lifetime, the majority of which were not aware of the level of autonomy already involved in commercial flight," wrote ANSYS in the report.

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"With younger generations increasingly open to autonomous travel and an opportunity for improved education on AVs, it is reasonable to expect global comfort with autonomous travel to continue to rise." 

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