Car Rental Firms Likely in no Hurry for Autonomous Vehicles
J.D. Power survey reveals low consumer confidence for self-driving cars
Go through any media release distribution site citing announcements by the big boys in the rental car industry and you’ll find them crowing about quarterly financial results, new deals and incentives and awards bestowed upon them. This year, rental car technology has been limited to a few green projects, a lot of connectivity items and modifications to mobile apps.
You’re also not going to see the same players pushing any endeavors related to adopting autonomous vehicles to their fleet, either and for good reason. Despite the upgrades and high-tech tweaks of late made to the technology, consumers have reflected they’d rather be behind the wheel than be robo-delivered to a destination.
That seems to be the prevailing attitude among participants in a J.D. Power survey that looked at consumer confidence when it comes to autonomous vehicles. The results of the study, conducted in conjunction with Survey Monkey revealed that barely a third of respondents would feel comfortable as passengers in a self-driving automobile. Supplement with that trepidation about being in a vehicle with fellow riders if the vehicle were autonomous. Additionally, the survey linked those fears to the perception that autonomous drivers have a rather shaky future.
It also didn’t matter what type of autonomous vehicle is involved, whether it be a car rental, delivery truck, public transportation or even a privately-owned automobile. Regardless, the biggest fear among respondents when it came to self-driving vehicles was technical errors or failures, which registered at 71 percent. Concerns about hacking placed second at 57 percent and legal liabilities in the wake of an accident wound up in third at 55 percent.
Interestingly, much of the fear surrounding autonomous vehicles could be linked to the level of education related to the technology. Some 71 percent of respondents related that they were more inclined to purchase an autonomous car if they knew a lot about the technology as opposed to only 25 percent who said they would buy such a vehicle, even if they knew nothing about that type of auto. Results showed significant differences in reaction among generations and genders, with Gen Z more knowledgeable about autonomous technology than boomers. Roughly two-thirds of males reported they’ve read up on the subject compared to roughly half of the women surveyed.
Still, the future seems brighter for autonomous vehicles when it comes to the consumer base surveyed. Younger generations had a more positive reaction to the possibility that autonomous vehicles will improve over time than boomers. That’s good news for car rental firms who may rely on patience for the field of opportunity surrounding the new technology to open up wider down the road.