The human readiness index measures just how ready we are for self-driving cars, and in an online study “The Pulse of Autonomous Driving”, Audi has produced a user typology of autonomous driving.
Audi in cooperation with the market research institute Ipsos interviewed 21,000 people in nine countries on three continents about Autonomous driving. It shows that young, high-earning and well-educated “status-oriented trendsetters” and “tech-savvy passengers” most look forward to autonomous driving. “Suspicious drivers” tend to be older with a lower level of income and education. The “safety-oriented reluctant” would use autonomous driving only when others have gained experience with the technology. The largest user group are the “open-minded co-pilots”, who are fundamentally open to autonomous driving as long as they can take control at any time.
Nicole Scott and Don Dalhmann interviewed Barbara Wege, from Audi to talk about the Study.
Since 2015, Audi has been examining the social acceptance of autonomous driving. In the study, the initiative investigates how rational arguments, emotions, values and lifestyles shape attitudes to autonomous driving. The result is threefold, consisting of an emotional landscape, a human readiness index, and a user typology.
The study broke findings out into three overall categories: the emotional landscape, the Human Readiness Index (HRI) and several user typology templates. The most important of these is the second point, the HRI.
The HRI spans age groups, gender, living environment, income, education and the distance a respondent drives each day. By and large, younger generations hold the idea of autonomous driving in a more positive light. Even across each of the nine countries, those belonging to Generation Z (under the age of 24) showed a “high readiness” for self-driving technology, and 73% said they were curious about the technology. Millennials came in second, though far less ready as Gen Z, while Baby Boomers displayed the least readiness. Overall, almost half of those surveyed still viewed autonomous vehicles with optimism, however at 49%.
The human readiness index (HRI) provides insights into the way that attitudes to autonomous driving relate to sociodemographics. The results show that the younger the respondents are and the higher their level of education and income, the more positive is their attitude to autonomous driving.
Differences are also apparent between the countries that were investigated. The Chinese (HRI +5.1) are euphoric, and South Koreans (HRI +1.2) too are above-average in their positive view of the technology. In Europe, the Spanish and Italians lead the field (both HRI +0.7). Germans and French are relatively reserved (both HRI -0.7), as are the Americans, Japanese and British (all HRI -0.9). The HRI combines knowledge of, interest in, emotions about and readiness to use self-driving cars to produce a numerical indicator between -10 and +10.
By examining attitudes to autonomous driving in the context of people’s lives, the user typology shows that significant differences exist. This analysis results in five user types. The “suspicious driver” likes to stick with what already exists and would use autonomous driving only if it had become fully established. “Safety-oriented reluctants”, too, have a largely reserved attitude to autonomous driving. They believe that autonomous cars should first be tested for years before being allowed on the road.
The “open-minded co-pilot” sees the benefits of the technology and desires measures from the fields of business, science and politics to put the cars on the road safely. “Status-oriented trendsetters” are enthusiastic about self-driving cars because they can demonstrate their progressive lifestyle in this way. The “tech-savvy passenger” trusts the technology and wants it to be introduced across the board.
Breaking down the concerns of those that aren’t thrilled with autonomous cars, Audi found plenty of valid concerns. The vast majority (70%) are concerned with giving up control, per the international figures. How the car assesses situations independently from a human also concerned respondents with 65% noting the potential issue. Lack of a legal framework, data security and lack of driving fun also scored as reasons for the lack of enthusiasm over self-driving vehicles.
Where do we go from here? Audi lays out a well-positioned plan. Autonomous technology is, clearly, not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Different countries, those hailing from rural or, and people with varying levels of income all expect different things from a world with “mobility for all.” The goal moving forward will be to create an environment that not only educates the public but overall, provides a way to guarantee the safety and the benefits companies promise.
We dive into a great deal more than just these facts in the podcast, so be sure to tune in!