CRA Innovation & Technology Explored – Canada

On consumer confidence

Consumer confidence in future mobility technologies lags far behind automakers’ plans to bring self-driving and battery-electric vehicles to the marketplace, according to the J.D. Power 2020 Q1 Mobility Confidence Index Study fueled by SurveyMonkey Audience.

According to the report, the Mobility Confidence Index for self-driving vehicles has decreased for the first time—to 36 from 39 for Canadian consumers. For battery-electric vehicles, the index decreased to 57 from 59 in Canada.

Consumers don’t believe the technology is ready—or that society is ready for self-driving vehicles: technology failure or error remains the top concern about self-driving technology in both countries, with Canadians being even more worried about it (75% compared with 67% in the US). 

Canada’s climate and mountainous terrain present a significant challenge as one consumer said of self-driving technology: “Not practical in Canada where there are snowy and messy roads. The cameras required cannot see clearly at all times as it would be necessary for them to work properly and safely in this climate. I’m basing my statements on the automation in our own car that only works occasionally when the roads are dirty due to camera filth.” 

J.D. Power was joined by global survey software company SurveyMonkey to conduct the study in which more than 8,500 consumers and industry experts gave their opinions about self-driving vehicles and more than 8,000 about battery-electric vehicles. The survey was fielded in March 2020 before most stay-at-home orders went into effect.

Post-COVID changes

The J.D. Power report also outlined changing needs regarding autonomous vehicles and the COVID-19 outbreak, saying it could urge consumers toward more automation in their cars.

“Coronavirus outbreak may steer some people away from shared transportation toward more private vehicle ownership, and some of these private vehicles may evolve from sophisticated ADAS to higher levels of automation,” said one respondent.

Others noted that self-driving delivery services may arrive at an optimal time when consumers are looking to minimize social contact.

The full report is available here.

Robo Relief

Autonomous shuttles are thriving amid COVID-19 as they provide critical testing kit deliveries in Florida.

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority partnered with autonomous shuttle fleet service provider Beep and autonomous driving systems company NAVYA to use autonomous vehicles to safely transport COVID-19 tests collected at a drive-through testing location at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

JTA CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. called the deployment “a historic moment for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.”

“Along with our partners Beep, NAVYA and Mayo Clinic, we are leveraging our learnings from three years of testing autonomous vehicles through our Ultimate Urban Circulator program,” Ford said in a news release. “Our innovative team saw this as an opportunity to use technology to respond to this crisis in Northeast Florida and increase the safety of COVID-19 testing.”

Credit to CollisionRepairmag.