Self-Driving Vehicles, Car Sharing, and the Urban Mobility Revolution

New automotive technologies and business models are converging to spark a transformative revolution on our city streets.

It’s no longer a question of if but when self-driving vehicles (SDVs, also known as autonomous vehicles) will hit the road.

Multiple parties are already at work developing autonomous-driving technologies, and the trend toward putting SDVs on the road is rapidly gaining momentum across a broad front that encompasses OEMs, suppliers, mobility providers, technology companies, academic institutions, governments, and regulatory bodies.

A potentially big barrier to self-driving vehicles—consumers’ acceptance of a car that drives itself—turns out to be a shrinking obstacle, and one that will likely dwindle over time as consumers gain experience and familiarity with the vehicles. The Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum conducted qualitative and quantitative research among more than 5,500 consumers in 27 cities in ten countries—to date, the largest survey fully dedicated to autonomous driving.

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Overall, 58% of respondents said they would take a ride in an SDV, and 69% said that they would take a ride in a partially self-driving car. Consumers in Asia—home to half of the world’s 100 largest cities—are among the most ready.

To be sure, consumers also have concerns, and safety tops the list. Half of all consumers said that they “do not feel safe if the car is driving itself.” Only 35% of parents would let their child ride in a self-driving car alone.

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