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.
Written by Melanie Wachsman, Editor

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).


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Smart car, self-driving mode vehicle with Radar signal system and and wireless communication, Autonomous car
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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