Autonomous Ride Sharing Survey: Consumers Still Wary of Safety Issues

Throughout the past several years, two major trends have created a lot of buzz within the automotive industry: autonomous vehicles and ride sharing. And now, big players in ride sharing are investing in autonomous vehicle technology to potentially use it in the future. A study from BCG Perspectives found that autonomous driving technology could have a big impact on car sharing and the automotive industry as a whole. So just what do consumers think about autonomous vehicles within the ride sharing industry? And how many of them would change their habits based on the new technology? We asked 1,000 respondents about their use of ride sharing services and how that use might change based on autonomous vehicle technology.

autonomous ride sharing

Ride Sharing Customers

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest online survey, 21% of respondents said that they’ve used ride sharing services many times. And another 19% have used them once or twice. Uber was by far the most popular of those services; 87% have used it, with 42% saying they’ve used Lyft. And just 10% have used other services.

So while ride sharing isn’t exactly ubiquitous yet, the industry has been growing quickly. And now nearly half of consumers have used one of two big name ride sharing services at least once. So changes in the industry could potentially have a sizeable impact on consumers.

Autonomous Vehicles

On the other hand, 57% said that they’re at least somewhat interested in autonomous vehicle technology. 40% actually said that they would be at least somewhat likely to purchase an autonomous vehicle if the technology was widely available today. And 53% think that autonomous vehicles will actually become widely available in the next five years.

More specific to ride sharing, just 37% of respondents said that they would currently trust a self-driving vehicle to get them safely to their destination. So it seems that companies still have a long way to go when it comes to safety testing and proving to consumers that the technology can be used in a safe way.

Future Consumers

Looking forward, 47% of respondents said they are likely to use ride sharing services in the next five years. According to Personality Radar, those who are likely to use ride sharing services in the next five years are established consumers who are also fairly tech savvy and likely to pay for products and services that offer convenience. Those who have already used ride sharing services were also significantly more likely than others to have plans of using those services again in the future.

Additionally, 25% of consumers said they would be more likely to support ride sharing companies if they knew those companies were working on autonomous vehicle technology. But 36% said they would actually be less likely to support ride sharing companies working on autonomous vehicles.

If autonomous vehicle technology becomes more widely available in the next five years, 32% said they would be at least somewhat likely to purchase a self-driving car. And 34% said they would be likely to use ride sharing services that use autonomous vehicle technology. According to Personality Radar, those who are open to using autonomous ride sharing services are likely to be younger and trendier than other ride sharing consumers. They’re also more tech savvy and less loyal to the brands they patronize.

Key Takeaways

Autonomous vehicles could certainly make a major impact on the ride sharing industry. But a lot of consumers aren’t ready for the change just yet. In fact, it likely isn’t a great strategy for those businesses to mention testing or investments in the area of autonomous vehicles in any marketing or PR materials, as it could make some customers wary of safety issues. Time and testing might be the only thing that convinces some consumers to give autonomous vehicles in ride sharing a try. But when the time does come, companies like Uber and Lyft will have to convince some established consumers instead of focusing on the young, trendy customers who would already be willing to give the new technology a try.

You can view the complete survey results in the widget below and be sure to click “Open Full Report” to take advantage of all the chart and filter options.

Photo Credit: Uber testing self-driving car by zombieite under CC by 2.0

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on August 28 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.