Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Autonomous Vehicles and the Enterprise

Research: Industries take a wait-and-see approach to autonomous transportation

A recent TechRepublic Premium poll shows that more needs to be done before autonomous vehicles become ubiquitous.

Blackberry and Jaguar Land Rover to partner on autonomous vehicles

Special Feature

Special Report: Autonomous Vehicles and the Enterprise (free PDF)

This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet / TechRepublic special feature, examines how driverless cars, trucks, semis, delivery vehicles, drones, and other UAVs are poised to unleash a new level of automation in the enterprise.

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Autonomous vehicles are no longer an idea articulated best in The Jetsons cartoon, but a reality -- a new wave of automation with organisations ranging from startups to the government researching, testing, investing, and implementing driverless transportation initiatives.  

In a recent TechRepublic Premium survey, 51% of respondents view autonomous transportation as a positive for their industry, while just 11% think it will affect their industry negatively. Slightly more than one third (38%) remain unsure about how it will affect their industry. 

SEE: Research: Autonomous transportation in the enterprise: Mixed impact anticipated (TechRepublic Premium)

This uncertainty may impede the deployment of autonomous transportation initiatives, as two-thirds (67%) of respondents are not currently doing anything with autonomous transportation. This number has actually increased from 2017 survey results, where 63% of respondents had not yet implemented autonomous transportation.

Among respondents, only 16% currently use, create, or are actively working to implement autonomous transportation or related products -- a 6% increase from 2017. In 2017, 13% of respondents considered an autonomous transportation strategy, and in 2019 that percentage grew to 16%. 

While some respondents actively work on autonomous transportation strategies, many more (41%) have no definite plan, and instead are waiting to see what the industry does before adopting the new technology. This number has seen an increase since 2017, when 32% of respondents took a wait-and-see approach. 

Why the trepidation? Public safety (63%), regulation (54%), and ethics (52%) top the list of concerns regarding autonomous transportation for 2019 respondents. Respondents from our 2017 survey shared the same concerns; with public safety (65%), regulations (50%), and ethics (52%) topping their list.

One significant change over the last three years was the number of respondents with no concerns about autonomous transportation. In 2017, 7% had no concerns, and in 2019 that number grew to 13%.

What does the industry need to do to boost confidence in, and mitigate potential negative effects of, autonomous transportation? Many respondents pointed to improvements in  technology as a solution. A majority of respondents (74%) want to see hardware/software improvements, including stronger security measures. In 2017, respondents had a similar reaction, with 70% recommending the same solution.. 

Testing topped the list for 69% of respondents. Industry transparency, insurance reform and ethics committees for moral algorithms rounded out the top five recommendations for improving -- and escalating -- autonomous transformation initiatives.   

This infographic contains more details from the research. For all the findings, download the full report: Research: Autonomous transportation in the enterprise: Mixed impact anticipated (available to TechRepublic Premium subscribers).

autonomousvehicles-infographic-10302019.jpg

Also see

Smart car, self-driving mode vehicle with Radar signal system and and wireless communication, Autonomous car

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto