RESEARCH HAS FOUND that drivers would rather buy a self-driving car from Google than from a carmaker like Ford.
The KPMG study "Self Driving Cars: Are We Ready?" was based on a combination of surveys and collated "web chatter" and showed that Google was the brand most associated with autonomous motoring, followed by Nissan, after the latter firm's pledge to produce a self-driving vehicle by 2020.
Google has offered similar timeframes for its own self-driving cars, which have been successfully licenced for use in several American states. Although there was a definite bias toward technology companies, the results didn't explore how many people would be willing to get into an autonymous car in the first place, though a similar study by Bosch in 2012 concluded that only 21 percent of respondents would feel safe in a driverless vehicle.
What will have been particularly alarming for vehicle manufacturers is that the KPMG study showed a distinct bias against American carmakers over Japanese ones, despite the respondents being 100 percent American, further suggesting that there is a definite preference that this new technology should be in the hands of those seen as the technically minded.
KPMG suggested that driverless upgrades to new car sales would be ready by 2019, with sufficient built-in and after-market penetration to support self-driving software applications by 2025.
In contrast, one apocryphal story suggested that the only crash that a Google car had in public was when it was put into manual and the driver crashed it into a lamp post. µ