APAC users concerned about lack of safety standards in driverless vehicles

Half of Asia-Pacific respondents will buy or use a driverless car when available, but lack of safety standards and being targeted by hackers are top concerns, reveals survey.

More than 51 percent of users in Asia-Pacific express willingness to buy or use a driverless vehicle when available, but the possibility of being hacked is among key safety concerns.

More than 60 percent wanted driverless cars with the intelligence to avoid traffic congestions and able to self-charge using solar energy, according to a Intel-commissioned study. Conducted by Intuit Research, the online survey polled 1,250 respondents across five Asia-Pacific markets: Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Australia.

Among those willing to use a driverless car, 45 percent would concede a high degree or full autonomy to the vehicle. This meant they would allow the system to handle all aspects of driving, even if a human driver did not respond to a request to intervene and under all road and environmental conditions, with no involvement from the human driver.

Respondents cited a range of benefits in using such vehicles, including environment-friendly, less stressful commuting experience, ease of parking, and predictable commute time. The ability to summon a car placed as a highly desired benefit, revealed the study, which also found higher interest among non-drivers in using driverless cars compared to drivers.

Various aspects of safety, however, remained key concerns for respondents who pointed to the lack of safety standards and possibility of being hacked. They also expressed worry that the vehicles might not be able to identify and operate properly in new situations.

"Driverless cars is one of the most interesting manifestations of technology that we will see in the next three to five years as it will positively impact so many segments of the society," said Jerry Tsao, Intel's Asia-Pacific and Japan vice president of sales and marketing group and managing director. He added that the chipmaker was collaborating with several car manufacturers on such initiatives.

According to the survey findings, respondents across the region on average expected driverless vehicles to be commonly available in six years. Those in Singapore projected this would happen the soonest, with 30 percent expecting such vehicles to be commonly available within three years.

Taiwanese respondents, at 83 percent, indicated a high interest in buying driverless cars, compared to just 24 percent in Australia.

Across the region, 47 percent were willing to pay a premium of more than 20 percent for the vehicles, with Korean respondents most wiling to do so at 62 percent. Only 37 percent of their counterparts in Singapore expressed a similar desire.

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