Autonomous driving: two thirds currently say no

On behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation, the opinion research institute Emnid conducted and evaluated 1,015 interviews for the representative study "Automated Driving". Conclusion: Two out of three Germans distrust the technology of autonomous driving.

The technology of autonomous driving is still suspicious: Is it a higher risk of accident rather than more safety?
Image: Continental

Self-propelled cars, buses or trains will be a reality in ten to twenty years. In this prediction the Germans, according to a representative Emnid survey, agree with the mobility researchers of the Fraunhofer Institute IESE Kaiserslautern. Also the benefit that digital technology has for population groups, which are rather poorly mobile, is equally positive for citizens and experts alike. And yet there is a divided relationship between the Germans and digitalization in the area of ​​road traffic. Despite the prospect of benefits, the vast majority of the population will encounter automated driving with great skepticism.

67 per cent of the respondents say in the Emnid survey that they are fundamentally distrustful of the technology of autonomous driving. Enthusiasm signals, however, only about every fourth. Accordingly, 61 per cent can not imagine using a self-propelled car. The most common are people with disabilities (88%), the elderly (79), people with no driving license (58), tourists (56) and city-dwellers (55) .
Even using a computer controlled by a computer means that the majority of the respondents can imagine the most likely on longer trips (59%) and night trips (51). On the daily journey to the work would be still still for 44 percent conceivable. "The more stressful the situation to get from A to B, the more open are the people for digital progress in road traffic," says Bertelsmann founding board member Brigitte Mohn.
The hope for less stress in road traffic is reflected in the attitudes of frequenters and large families. If you spend a lot of time in the car, or often have to agree with others, who can use the car when, is much more enthusiastic about the new technology. It seems logical that the respondents would like to spend the time gained while the car controls itself: the first is "look out the window" (73 percent), followed by "relax" (59) "(47) and" surf the Internet "(39).
In their "mobility and digitization" scenarios, which were also developed for the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the experts of Fraunhofer IESE believe that automated driving between 2027 and 2037 would work at least on predetermined routes. Autonomous shuttles then served as a bus, school bus or shuttle to the nearest station. "If the passenger transport would be cheaper by automation and the money saved would be invested in better timing and more offers, this would make the rural area much more attractive," says Brigitte Mohn.
On this point, however, the hopes of experts and citizens differ. The mobility researchers see an opportunity in digitization to improve the provision of services in rural areas. At least 45 percent of the Germans share this opinion with regard to automated driving. And while the experts in their future scenarios, especially for children and young people see opportunities to come with autonomous shuttles to the lessons, to sports or the cinema without problems, the 34 percent support the respondents.
This restraint may have to do with the reasons why the Germans are suspicious of self-running cars: the most common is fear of accidents (84 per cent). This is followed by the fear of losing control of the car (83) and of hacker attacks (74).
The IESE researchers come to precisely opposite assumptions: "Automated driving has potential for the future, because accidents caused by human factors, for example slow reaction time, fatigue, distraction, and so on can be prevented," says the Fraunhofer paper "Mobility and Digitization: Four Future Scenarios". 

The Fraunhofer teams involved are taking great chances to help car sharing within the application scenarios of self-employed cars. The cars would work similarly to taxis: they pick up the passenger and return to their location on their own. The researchers believe this possibility is so attractive that they warn against the fact that the demand for cars could increase significantly and strain the road networks. This would probably be the case if car sharing models were used as a second or third car replacement. This is not unlikely, because for 66 per cent of the Germans, in spite of this comfortable model, no one would be questioned: the renouncement of one's own car.
Both of these studies are part of the research on the digital future at the Bertelsmann Stiftung, which is dedicated to this year's Reinhard Mohn Prize "Smart Country - Networked Intelligent Digital." The ceremony for awarding prizes to former Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves will take place on June 29th from 11 am at the Theater Gütersloh.
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