Cruise Control to Autonomous Driving: The Future of the Auto Industry

Even though the 21st century arrived without teleportation, colonies on Mars, and many other futuristic technologies that were predicted, the prospect of self-driving cars is now on the horizon. Though no decisions have been made about how these autonomous vehicles will look and what features they’ll eventually incorporate, industry leaders now say that self-driving technology will be available by 2021.

Continue Reading Below

With the extended US automotive industry bringing in an estimated $2 trillion in annual revenues

Deloitte suggests<2>Good News for Automakers

As part of a behavior assessment, Deloitte surveyed

Deloitte asked consumers to rate their preference of four levels of vehicle automation, and compared to the results found in 2014, there was an 11% increase in advanced vehicle automation features. Such features would include functionality where humans relinquish control and rely more on automation like emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assistance.

Continue Reading Below

The percentages of those desiring limited self-drive or full self-drive technologies also increased 5% and 3% respectively according to the study (see Figure 2), clearly indicating that the average US consumer is warming up to the idea of autonomous vehicles.

Findings showed that younger generations have the strongest interest in partially or fully self-driving cars, with nearly 60% of Generation Y/Z survey participants responding favorably. This is supported by a similar report from MIT/New England University, and one from J.D. Power, which confirmed that more than half of Gen Y and Gen Z respondents would trust fully self-driving cars; much higher percentages than the older generations.

<2>The Not-So-Good News

While consumer interest in self-driving technologies is growing, the not-so-good news for automakers is that the willingness to pay for such technologies has decreased over last two years. Deloitte found

Worse, 74% of consumers feel that fully self-driving cars will not be safe, with a high percentage saying they won’t feel comfortable with the technology until there is an established track record of safety. Such a track record would likely take hundreds of millions of miles to demonstrate

Consumers polled by Deloitte have also expressed their doubt that a traditional car manufacturer will bring self-drive technology to market, with only 47% having faith in such companies. The data wasn’t good news for technology companies either, as only 20% believe an existing technology company will produce autonomous cars. With the lack of public faith in existing car and technology companies, the door is seemingly wide open for a new player or new partnership.

<2>2017 U.S. Automotive Consumer Study by Deloitte

Most Useful Technologies

  • Recognize presence of objects on road and avoid collisions
  • Inform driver of dangerous driving situations
  • Automatically block the driver of dangerous driving situations
  • Automatically take action in medical situations
  • Enable remote shutdown in cases of theft

Least Useful Technologies

  • Automatically pay for toll roads, parking, and priority/commuter lane fees
  • Empower customers with the ability to design and personalize vehicles
  • Allow drivers to control automated systems in their homes
  • Enable ultra-small, low-speed, self-driving vehicles for urban environments
  • Help manage daily activities

<2>How Can the Auto Industry Adapt?

Know the marketAAA study

Not only are younger generations very interested in autonomous driving technology, but they are also most willing to spend to get them. Research indicates that Generations Y/Z are willing to pay, on average, over $1600 for advanced features--about $900 more than Gen X and $1300 more than Baby Boomers and pre-Boomers.

Focus on safetyDeloitte suggests

Prioritize R&D

Partner upDeloitte believes

Understand consumer preferences

Read More from Deloitte...