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.
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.