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August 2, 2016

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Chinese display more interest in self-driving cars

CHINESE consumers showed rising interest in self-driving cars despite concerns over safety, a joint report said yesterday.

In China, around 81 percent of the 500 surveyed consumers, were willing to try autonomous cars, up from 75 percent last year, according to the report released by Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum.

The “Self-Driving Vehicles, Robo-Taxis, and the Urban Mobility Revolution” report builds on earlier research by BCG and the WEF, including a survey conducted in August 2015 of more than 5,500 consumers in 10 countries — the largest global survey on self-driving vehicles to date.

On the other hand, German consumers, who expressed the most reluctance of three countries in an earlier research, were more risk-averse this year with 41 percent willing to try a fully self-driving car, down from 44 percent in 2015. American consumers were 48 percent less positive compared with 53 percent last year.

Despite media coverage on the safety of autonomous driving, public opinion didn’t appear to have changed much. Some 58 percent of consumers in cities around the world were open to trying out a fully-autonomous car. Willingness was highest among younger consumers: 63 percent of those aged 29 or younger were willing to ride in a full SDV, above 46 percent of those aged 51 or above.

Widespread urban adoption of SDV and “robo-taxis” or self-driving taxis could result in a 60 percent drop in the number of cars on city roads, an 80 percent or greater decrease in tailpipe emissions, and 90 percent fewer road accidents, according to the report.

“There is a compelling case to be made for SDVs in cities,” said Nikolaus Lang, a BCG senior partner and coauthor of the report, adding that ride-sharing, electric robo-taxis can sharply transform and improve urban transport and livability.


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