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Autonomous Driving – Perceptions, Players and Pricing


For the second year in a row, Ducker took advantage of the 2015 NAIAS Industry Preview to speak with experienced consumers about current perceptions of autonomous driving.

This year’s conversations revealed a surprising increase in understanding of autonomous driving amongst respondents compared to last year. Despite a glaring lack of OEM displays featuring autonomous driving, respondent awareness as well as a wide range of ideas on how autonomous driving should be implemented was very evident. Although autonomous driving was visibly absent from the show, more OEMs are expanding their advanced safety features, growing from 10 OEMs participating in the space to 16, plus Google.


Last year the debate was whether autonomous driving would ever happen. Now the debate is on the technical aspects of how it should, or can, be implemented, and how it will impact our lives. This demonstrates that consumers are becoming more comfortable with allowing technology to “take control” of the vehicle.

Another change was the absence of concern regarding location-based information sharing. While in 2014 respondents overwhelmingly mentioned “big brother” and control of their data, that sentiment was almost wholly absent in 2015. Consumers’ concerns have changed to more tangible events while the vehicle is under autonomous control. For instance, how autonomous vehicles will respond in less than ideal driving conditions, like rain or snow.

The awareness of feasibility issues was another change from last year. Though 70% of respondents believe autonomous driving will become a reality by 2020, there are many obstacles identified that need to be tackled before then. Some of the hurdles mentioned include:

  • Who is liable in the event of a failure
  • Regulatory issues
  • Groups such as police officers lobbying against autonomous driving
  • Difficulties presented when autonomous vehicles and traditional cars share a road. Multiple respondents suggested dedicated autonomous driving lanes to address this concern

Respondent’s age was no longer a dividing factor of comfort level with the autonomous driving concept. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being not at all comfortable, and 5 being very comfortable, over 50% of respondents gave a 4 or 5. Only 32% gave a 1 or 2.

Most respondents were willing to pay between $1,000 and $5,000 for a fully autonomous option on a vehicle, with some willing to pay up to $10,000. Other respondents believe autonomous driving will be introduced as a standard option on premium vehicles.

We asked respondents to speculate on industries, companies or groups that will benefit or be harmed by autonomous driving becoming the industry standard. Last year’s identified winners included software and data analytics companies, which have already begun taking advantage of untapped demand for new technology. This includes companies such as Google and Intel that are able to decipher information at a fast pace, ultimately providing a “seamless” driving experience. This year’s winners and losers are…

From discussions with industry participants, the automotive industry has increased focus on the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which took place the week before NAIAS 2015 began. Previously dedicated to consumer electronics, CES has gained traction in the automotive industry, as demonstrated by several feature and concept car OEM debuts. There is a perception in the industry that CES is where technology should be showcased, causing a shift, and leaving NAIAS to concentrate exclusively on powertrain and other pure driving advances. This new focus on CES has presumably caused a shift in booth budgets from the Detroit based NAIAS, to the CES adjacent LA Auto Show.

The quickly changing market and technological advances in the automotive space are challenges Ducker can assist in understanding. Our team works with distributors, manufacturers and installers worldwide, giving us an inside look at industry knowledge. We will create a program customized to fit your organizational needs. Ducker Worldwide offers services such as: product and market feasibility, industry demand and forecast, product clinics and focus groups, competitive analysis and brand recognition. Please contact our team for more information on our strategic services and industry expertise at 1-800-929-0086 or email us at

About Ducker Worldwide

Ducker Worldwide, a premier consulting and research firm, is driven to help its clients achieve their most ambitious growth goals. Custom market intelligence, strategic consulting and transaction advisory services are delivered by fully-engaged Ducker principals and a diverse team of global talent. With exclusive access to industry leaders and opportunities, Ducker applies robust analytics and critical thinking to every engagement, delivering unique, fact-based solutions for our clients –solutions which produce confident decisions to advance growth. Ducker is headquartered in Troy, Mich., with offices around the world, including Paris, Berlin, Shanghai, Bangalore and London. Founded by William H. Ducker in 1961; Ducker celebrates over 53 years in business. For more information, visit

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