Autonomous cars are coming. Some are already being tested on the road. Indeed, many auto manufacturers have publicly stated that they expect to release their first autonomous vehicles by 2020.
Many vehicle users have expressed anxieties around this transition. The idea of giving up control, trusting their safety to new technology, together with fears about vehicles being hacked, give many people serious cause for concern.
However, a significant minority are already keen to try out an autonomous vehicle. When looking at the profile of these adopters, we gain valuable insights into what leads people to place their trust in autonomous vehicle capabilities.
To better understand who the adopters are, HERE has developed consumer segments to describe the differing attitudes towards technology and mobility among consumers. Consider which of these segments best describes you. Can you think of friends or family that fit into the others?
The Virtual Urbanite: True digital natives, the Virtual Urbanite loves to stay ahead of the curve and own the latest gadgets. With a modern approach to mobility, they don't need to own a car - but can be tempted by innovative technology solutions.
The Savvy Sociable: The Savvy Sociable's ultimate priority is a full and active social life. While no expert in cars or tech, both add immense value to their lives by enabling them to stay in touch with loved ones - and indulge all their favourite hobbies.
The Mindful Mover: With so many ways to get around, the Mindful Mover is willing to explore the options. Concerned about the impact of cars (on the environment - and their pockets) and data privacy, they're happy to go off-grid by walking, cycling or taking the bus.
The Proud Achiever: These high-achievers love to drive, and depend on cars to meet the demands of their busy lives. Prepared to invest, the Proud Achiever wants their car and tech to express their personality and how far they've come.
The Passionate Purist: The Passionate Purists simply love driving. Not impressed by high-tech gadgetry for the sake of it, the Passionate Purist just wants a trustworthy vehicle that gives them freedom - to get out and feel the wind in their hair.
The Careful Follower: Car-dependent but cautious, the Careful Follower will embrace technology at their own pace. Often based remotely, they need their cars to get around - but prefer to stick close to home when it comes to new technology.
Autonomous cars are viewed as a technology innovation, rather than as an evolution of current, manual vehicles. It should come as no surprise that our research found that 'Virtual Urbanites' and 'Savvy Sociables' are the most excited for autonomous vehicles.
'Virtual Urbanites' love to feel that they are ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest tech gadget. They also like to take a modern approach to mobility. These consumers don't need to own a car but are eager to pilot innovative technology solutions to get wherever they want to be.
Autonomous cars also attract 'Savvy Sociables'. Their ultimate priority is a full and active social life. They are not experts in either cars or technology; but rather utilizing technology and cars as a means to an end - tools that help them to keep in touch with the people they care about and indulge in their favourite hobbies. If a new tool such as autonomous vehicles helps them to achieve their goals, then these consumers are open to trying it out.
Are you keen to try out an autonomous car? And if so, would you identify yourself as a 'Virtual Urbanite', 'Savvy Sociable' or one of the others?