Car drivers not ready to let cars take over, poll reveals

May 11, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Do car owners have confidence in algorithms and control units that eventually could take over the command over their vehicles? A recent study reveals deep-seated concerns.

The German subsidiary of IT consulting company CSC recently conducted a poll among a representative cross section of the population in Germany, Austria and Switzerland showed that though car drivers acknowledge that the digitization of the car offers some benefits, their confidence into this technology is not really unlimited. Almost 70 percent of the respondents said they were afraid of malicious hackers taking over the car. Almost the same percentage said they simply don’t trust enough into the technology to leave the responsibility for driving to the machine. Two thirds expressed doubts that in the case of an accident the liability issues could be settled to their disadvantage.

Nevertheless, there was also a strong majority expecting that automated driving would improve traffic safety. Four out of five respondents found it essential that after an accident automatics systems such the eCall would speed first aid after an accident, and the same percentage said they expect that Connected Car schemes would spread information on accidents and other hazards quickly to other traffic participants.

“The Connected Car is one of the most crucial subjects for the automotive industry”, said Claus Schünemann, general manager of CSC Germany.  “Almost 70 percent of the consumers are in favour of this technology and regard it as a relief in long-distance highway travel or in dense commuter traffic. However, to turn the idea of a self-driving vehicle into market reality, the security concerns of the customers have to be eliminated. In particular it is necessary to implement a reliable protection against malicious attacks.” Schünemann added that IT security plays a pivotal role in any scenario that includes both Connected Car and autonomous driving.

Other expectations to intelligent, connected cars are improved traffic flow control. Three out of four drivers hope that IT-based solutions would improve the traffic flow through better phased traffic lights. The same percentage wished a new generation of satellite navigation systems with real-time computation of