Automated driving and driver assistance technologies are gaining popularity across the world. Individuals in China and Japan, in particular, are already open to the benefits of autonomous driving, whereas people in Germany, France, and the United States are still hesitant. Overall, the technological potential for automated driving is considerably more advanced than present driver willingness to adopt them.
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The Continental Mobility Study on automated driving
However, the situation is different when it comes to driver assistance systems, where all five countries have consistently increased levels of openness, particularly concerning safety-related functions. These are the main findings of the most recent Continental Mobility Study, in which the social research institute INFAS polled 1,000 individuals in each of the five nations above about their mobility patterns.
“The high level of confidence in driver assistance systems indicates that as these become more widespread, confidence in automated driving will automatically grow. Our experience has shown that acceptance increases as people get to know and understand the functions in question. Extensive testing is therefore key. This should be carried out in real-life traffic conditions in order to understand how people interact with the systems.
In turn, this will provide important findings that can be incorporated into the further development of the technology,” stated Frank Petznick, the Head of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems business unit at Continental.
US and European responders are still reluctant to give up control
According to the results of the poll, most drivers sit behind the wheel of their automobile out of conviction. Although they value new technology, giving up complete control is still unthinkable for many. The majority of respondents in Germany, France, and the United States, in particular, stated that they would be hesitant to hand up control of the wheel to technology. In each of the three nations, more than half of those polled feel that autonomous driving is both beneficial and terrifying.
This is especially evident in the United States, where 75 percent of respondents are concerned about the issue, which is substantially more than the other nations questioned. Simultaneously, this figure has remained unchanged since 2018.
When contrasted to the Far East, the difference is stark. People in China and Japan have a far more favorable attitude toward technology. Automated driving is seen as a beneficial development by 91 percent of Chinese respondents and 82 percent of Japanese respondents. Furthermore, in the next five to ten years, 79 percent in China and 67 percent in Japan, expect the technology to become a permanent component of regular road traffic.
In terms of the present reasons against automated driving, there is a lot of agreement across countries: about 80% of respondents think that law has not yet established an appropriate environment for technical development on the manufacturer side. They also contend that authorities should develop basic guiding principles for usage in day-to-day traffic.
Continental is a pioneer in automated driving
Continental is firmly pursuing research and development in the field of assisted and automated driving, intending to make future mobility, as well as its new features and services, safer, more environmentally friendly, and more driver-centered. The technology corporation already has a significant presence in the development of advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving technologies. Continental got more than €9 billion in orders from 2018 to 2020.
Furthermore, starting in 2022, a distinct business division inside the company called Autonomous Mobility will be dedicated to the future sector of automated and autonomous driving.
Components and systems for autonomous taxis will also be a focus. These are being tested in public spaces as part of municipal collaborations, such as at the Bavarian garden show in Lindau since spring and as a field trial in Tokyo this summer, and in the fall with the Continental Urban Mobility Experience (CUbE) test platform in advance of the ITS World Congress in Hamburg. Frank Petznick: “It is precisely such approaches that make the possibilities of automated driving more tangible for people and further build confidence in the technology.”
Exceptional receptivity to new comfort and safety features of automated driving
The population in the five nations studied had a high level of openness to technology. In reality, the majority of people in Germany, France, the United States, China, and Japan are already receptive to delegating subtasks like parking to assistants or having technology aid them in traffic, such as a turn assist system. Right-turn assist systems, which especially safeguard bicycles and pedestrians from turning cars, are particularly popular in China (91 percent).
However, in the other four nations questioned, there is considerable enthusiasm in this topic, with more than 70% of all respondents indicating that they would prefer to utilize a turn assist system in road traffic. Price is the decisive element in Japan.
In a comparison of the five nations questioned, China appears to be the most interested in totally entrusting parking to an autonomous helper (more than 90 percent). Although between 62 and 64 percent of respondents in Germany, France, the United States, and Japan want to utilize this technology, their decision is mostly based on the cost of the driver assistance system. Price is barely important to 5% of Chinese respondents, but it is important to 21% of Japanese respondents.