Hands off: Consumer perceptions of advanced driver assistance systems

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Tomorrow’s drivers may actually drive very little. Autonomous-driving (AD) technologies could play an ever more important role in the car user’s experience in the future. It could become a multibillion-dollar opportunity for mobility ecosystem players: across the core AD use cases, we see a market value pool of $300 billion to $400 billion in the next decade and beyond.

The development of AD technologies represents one of the biggest shifts in how consumers will interact with and use their vehicles in the future, so it is important to understand consumer perceptions and feature preferences as mobility ecosystem players navigate their entry into an increasingly autonomous-mobility industry.

Our McKinsey Mobility Consumer Pulse survey regularly examines mobility users on their perceptions and preferences when it comes to future mobility, and AD often plays a cornerstone role in those considerations (for more information, see sidebar, “Survey details”).

Ultimately, 51 percent of car buyers could see themselves switching to some version of a fully autonomous vehicle in the future: 19 percent are open to switching to an AV without a manual drive option, and 32 percent would switch if manual driving were still possible. When asked about roadblocks to AV adoption, consumers said safety is top of mind, with many expressing a need to learn more and experience the technology on their own to build trust.

Today’s usage patterns reveal some consumers rarely use advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features despite having them in their cars. On average, 25 to 30 percent of consumers who have basic ADAS features such as active cruise control (ACC) or parking assistance in their cars today never or seldom use them. Their prime reasons for not using ADAS range from the joy of driving to not knowing when to use them to a fear of technology failure.

For future purchases, we see a stronger consumer pull for increasing degrees of driving assistance and technology-enabled autonomy in their next cars, especially as more people seek electrified mobility options. Only 5 percent of electric vehicle (EV) buyers say they do not want any ADAS features in their cars; in the premium segments, that figure falls to less than 1 percent of consumers (Exhibit 1).

The consumer pull for advanced driver-assistance systems is strongest among electric-vehicle buyers.

On average, EV owners are more likely than other car buyers to consider purchasing ADAS features—two times more likely than traditional internal-combustion-engine (ICE) car buyers. Premium-brand buyers also show a higher interest in buying ADAS.

Moreover, half of the consumers who are likely or very likely to buy an SAE level four (L4) autonomy feature—one that provides capabilities similar to those seen in advanced highway pilots—are willing to pay a one-time premium payment of $9,999 for it (Exhibit 2).

About half of consumers are willing to pay up to $9,999 for autonomous driving features.

Most consumers prefer to buy ADAS features as part of their vehicle’s overall configuration or as post-purchase upgrades, paying a fixed feature price in full. However, 23 percent of consumers prefer flexible subscription schemes or on-demand pay-per-use deals. Overall, consumers indicate reasonable satisfaction with their ADAS experience in their current cars. About 80 percent would repurchase the ADAS features they have today, and about a third of these would ask for a discount based on their experience.


The future of mobility

ADAS features play a role in the purchase decision, especially among EV buyers and the premium-brand segment: 42 percent of EV buyers and 38 percent of premium-brand car buyers say they would be highly likely to switch brands for better ADAS features. Among traditional combustion engine car buyers, only 22 percent say they are highly likely to do so (Exhibit 3).

Nearly three-quarters of electric-vehicle buyers would switch brands for better advanced driver-assistance systems features.

While the survey shows that consumers are increasingly likely to adopt L2+ or L3 autonomous-driving features in their private cars, consumers are more interested in L4 or L5 features for shared mobility. Nearly 50 percent would give up their private cars entirely if shared AV services were available in their hometowns, and 81 percent are open to sharing an autonomous shuttle. Sentiments about fully autonomous privately owned vehicles are mixed. Overall, fewer than one in three consumers feel safe today sharing the road with fully autonomous vehicles. This figure is lower than that reported in past years because the number of consumers who say that they would feel safe has been decreasing.

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