Traditional thinking on mobility, connectivity and even the role of the driver is undergoing major changes. Do you have an interest in safe, green and smart mobility? At Goodyear and ThinkYoung they do! How will current and future trends impact the way we get from A to B? Will the drivers of the future still own cars and what will they look like? What impact will autonomous driving have on road safety and mobility more generally?

ThinkGoodMobility Survey: A study on how drivers feel about interacting with Autonomous Vehicles on the road

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are on their way. How quickly they arrive and their impact when they get here remains unknown. A wide body of literature already exists on this impending arrival. Much of it focuses on the technical challenges of delivering this new technology, as well as the readiness of drivers to switch to AVs from conventional vehicles. A number of surveys have already shown many drivers to be reluctant, and concerned about the arrival of driverless cars, even though some are enthusiastic.

The challenge is to understand the factors underlying these divergent responses. This is crucial if we are to understand how AVs can find their place on the roads.

In 2015, the London School of Economics (LSE) and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company researched how drivers carry out and experience interactions with others on the road, analysing the unwritten rules many say they follow. In 2016, LSE and Goodyear have gone further in studying how drivers feel about interacting with AVs on the road.

How drivers feel about interacting with autonomous vehicles (AVs) on the road

This research by LSE and Goodyear views the road as a “social space.” Drawing on a combination of focus groups – in four European countries with a total of 48 participants – and an online survey covering approximately 12,000 respondents in 11 European countries, the research uncovers a number of rationales behind drivers’ responses to AVs.

They aim to measure and understand the level of “openness”’ people have towards AVs and, conversely, the situations in which people hope to avoid engaging with these vehicles. They argue that a successful introduction of AVs will ultimately depend on understanding and addressing the complex attitudes that define the public’s view of this new technology.

Read the whole study here:


Not ready for AVs, yet?

AVs are not simply another new technology. They are a technology that is gradually emerging into an intensely social space. It is therefore no surprise that a wide range of factors influence the public’s levels of openness towards AVs and that drivers have strong feelings about how AVs should act on the road.

AVs may have great potential to change the face of transport, the experience of our daily commute, and ultimately make our roads safer places. However, the survey finds that the majority of respondents remain concerned at the prospect of AVs, even if over a quarter of respondents are open to the arrival of AVs on our roads.

When considering current levels of knowledge and experience of AV technology, it is to be hoped that greater familiarity will allay some of the concern. But this research identifies a number of deep-seated reservations – to the willingness to give up control, to the reliability of AV technology and to AVs’ ability to integrate in the “social space” that is the road.

It is necessary to understand these reservations, rather than just assume that the public needs more information if AVs are to negotiate a place for themselves on the road. Arguments that focus simply on promoting greater safety, lifestyle enhancements or economic efficiencies will not gain traction if AVs do not fit comfortably into the public’s picture of what the road should be like for them to drive on.


photo credits: Goodyear