Mercedes & Infiniti owners most inclined to autonomous cars

Drivers of Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti vehicles have been found to be the most willing to hand over controls to autonomous technology, according to a recent survey.

Mercedes-Benz S500 Inteligent Drive TecDay Autonomous Mobility

A recent study conducted by MaritzCX says that just under a third of Mercedes and Infiniti drivers said they were “very interested” in fully-autonomous driving when it becomes mainstream.

At the other end of the spectrum, MaritzCX’s survey found that Jeep owners, in particular drivers of Ram utes, were the demographic least-inclined to welcoming autonomous driving features on their vehicle.

The survey took data from 12,353 vehicle owners, with interviews conducted between May through August this year. Author and global syndication director at MaritzCX, Shawn St. Clair, said:

“The luxury-vehicle owners are more willing to accept this technology because they believe safety would be much better in these types of vehicles. If you’re interested in doing some off-roading in a Jeep or a Ram, you’re not interested in an autonomous vehicle.”

While 94 per cent of respondents acknowledged that autonomous tech is fast approaching, the jury is split whether or not it’s a good or bad thing. The polarising nature of autonomous driving was expressed by around 48 per cent of respondents who said they aren’t interested in buying an autonomous vehicle.

MaritzCX says even within the more accepting demographic of Mercedes and Infiniti owners, there is still by no means a consensus on the discourse. Interestingly, owners of Porsche and BMW ranked third and fourth respectively in terms of one day adopting autonomous driving-tech.

“There is a set of luxury owners [Porsche] who want a performance vehicle that goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in three seconds. Those people are not in a big rush to give over control, if ever.”

The survey illuminates the major hurdles that autonomous driving need to overcome in order to be widely accepted. Things like equipment failure, the vehicle losing signal, legal liability, avoiding pedestrians, cyclists, and hackers were mentioned by respondents who say they are wary of the new technology.

St Clair says his company’s data could provide valuable insight for manufacturers. “We have a road map to take to the automakers to say, ‘Here’s what you need to work on if you ever hope to convert your customers to a fully autonomous car’,” he said.