Drivers would rather buy a self-driving car from Google than GM
California Gov. Edmund G Brown Jr., front left, rides in a driverless car to a bill signing at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. (AP / Eric Risberg)
Published Wednesday, October 16, 2013 1:12PM EDT
A new study reveals that consumers have more confidence in companies like Apple and Google than any of the world's leading vehicles manufacturers when it comes to autonomous car technology.
In January, Audi wowed attendees and the visiting press alike when its autonomous cars parked themselves with nothing more than a smartphone app at the International Consumer Electronics Show. BMW has logged more than 10,000 miles and counting on highways and byways testing its own self-driving cars and in July, Volvo invited the world's motoring press to Gothenburg to see for themselves the strides the company has taken in using sensors, GPS and other technologies to create cars that are essentially incapable of having accidents.
Yet, if the latest KPMG survey is to be believed, despite the massive strides all of these companies have taken towards making self-driving cars a reality, the average consumer would rather buy an autonomous vehicle from Apple than from any of the world's leading car makers.
Despite the fact that the computer, phone and tablet maker is yet to dip as much as a little toe in the waters of the self-driving car market, when respondents were asked to score (on a scale of one to ten) how much they would favor or trust an autonomous car from a list of companies, both Apple and Google scored a remarkable eight out of ten, compared with 7.5 for Mercedes Benz and five for Nissan and General Motors.
The study, which used a focus group of US drivers from California, Illinois and New Jersey, also found that West Coast drivers are the most in favor of owning an autonomous car. LA residents ranked their willingness to use a self-driving car on a daily basis as nine out of ten, whereas Chicago residents were rather less impressed, with an average score of four out of ten. New Jersey residents were a little more prepared with a six-out-of-ten median.
The results also highlight that those drivers who already have a taste of active safety systems and driver aids, such as park assist radar-guided cruise control -- i.e. BMW, Audi and Mercedes drivers -- are already well on their way to embracing full autonomous driving technologies.
And even though driving and car ownership are traditionally marketed as rites of passage and as expressions of freedom, control and individuality, KPMG's report, "Self-Driving Cars, Are We Ready?" highlights that for an increasing number of US motorists, the possibility of faster commute times, less stress and accident avoidance is too good an opportunity to pass up and that as long as there was a manual override switch drivers would embrace automated cars very quickly.
"We believe that self-driving cars will be profoundly disruptive to the traditional automotive ecosystem," said Gary Silberg, KPMG auto expert and author of the report. The company's polling bears that out, although KPMG is quick to add the caveat that while "focus group discussions are valuable for the qualitative, directional insights they provide...they are not statistically valid."