A recent global survey found that more than 57 percent of auto tech leaders expect that COVID-19 will quicken the pace and rate of consolidation of autonomous vehicles within the automotive industry.
Informa Tech Automotive Group in London released the results of its global survey of more than 120 auto tech leaders that explored the impact COVID-19 is having on the current and future autonomous vehicle industry.
The survey also found that more than 85 percent of respondents agreed that COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on the usage of shared mobility solutions.
“The impact of COVID-19 could be felt for years to come, influencing M&A activity and autonomous vehicle development, as well as the wider adoption of shared mobility solutions,” says Caroline Hicks, event portfolio director of Informa. “At a time when more people are working from home than ever before, there is of course less of a need to commute short distances to work. OEMs and AV startups alike will have to adapt to this new normal and carefully consider how people’s daily routines may be forever changed following the pandemic.”
More than 75 percent of respondents agreed that the acceleration toward urbanization may reverse with the new remote working paradigm, causing new testing and utilization challenges for autonomous vehicles as more people move to suburban and rural areas. Up to this point, autonomous vehicle technology has been developed with city life in mind. However, with more people working from home, driverless cars may not be able to achieve high usage by serving urban dwellers alone, particularly if city populations decline. About 11 percent of auto tech leaders surveyed disagreed with the assessment.
COVID-19 has also slowed the development of self-driving cars. More than 66 percent of those surveyed said the pandemic has negatively impacted testing. An increase in testing was thought to be the key to quick development, and many once believed autonomous vehicles would arrive as early as this year. However, 60 percent surveyed don’t expect to see the appropriate infrastructure in place for more than five years. More than 16 percent have hope that the infrastructure will be in place within four to five years, while less than 9 percent respondents expect the infrastructure in three years or less.
The survey also asked about advanced driver-assistance systems, which have provided drivers with their first taste of autonomous technology. More than 59 percent of respondents agreed that the interface has become too complicated for the driver. About 18 percent said they were satisfied with how the technology has been implemented.
The story is different with consumer adoption of autonomous vehicles. In an earlier survey conducted pre-pandemic, Informa asked about 250 auto tech leaders when they expected the majority of consumers to embrace autonomous vehicles in their everyday lives. More than 57 percent of respondents expect this to occur within the next 10-15 years. About 11 percent predicted consumer adoption of autonomous vehicles within the next five years.
The survey was conducted in preparation for the upcoming TU-Automotive Detroit, ADAS and Autonomous Vehicles, WardsAuto Interiors, and UX Conference, a virtual conference for the future automotive industry to take place from Aug. 18-20.