Last year we reported on the possibility of fully self-driving cars being truly relevant in the next 40 years. With the current technology and lack of regulations around the world, it made sense for things to take a while before hitting the ceiling.
However, there’s a good chance we could be rolling in fully autonomous vehicles on a large scale much earlier than anticipated. You may be wondering why this is this the case, and our answer to that is simply China.
The world’s largest new car market is ready to show its power by using it to force the hands of car manufacturers both worldwide and those at home. Not everyone likes when a government gets too involved in certain business activities, but what’s happening here could benefit the entire world.
China’s Aim to Dominate the Autonomous Car Market
A recent statement from Christian Senger, Volkswagen’s head of electric mobility, claims that China could soon adopt new regulations designed to incentivize autonomous cars. We do know that China, at the moment, offers subsidies for electric cars, and the same could happen for driverless vehicles in the near future.
“Right now you need to have [an] electric drivetrain, a minimum range, and local production and then you get subsidies,” Senger said. “There are a lot of indicators that this will now change that also the level of automated driving is a required premise to get subsidies. So the future of our market success is also dependent on our self-driving abilities.”
Should China venture down this route, then it could be a huge boost for the self-driving car market. Manufacturers would have access to more funding, which ultimately means, faster development of the technology, and more affordable cost of ownership for consumers.
More autonomous cars would lead to more people being willing to invest in owning one, and that’s good news for the market overall.
Chinese Consumers Do Not Fear Driverless Cars?
Americans are wearier of vehicles that drive themselves and for good reasons. However, a recent study has shown that Chinese consumers are twice as trusting of autonomous vehicles when compared to their American and German counterparts.
It simply means that if automakers decide to sell these types of cars in China, they would likely gain a lot of success, a huge incentive for slowly abandoning regular vehicles.
The study from TÜV Rheinland is another clear sign of how much the Chinese government and its citizens are more willing to adopt technology in many parts of their lives than other nations around the world, and this could be the deciding factor in which country comes out on top.
What’s interesting is the fact that American and German respondents are more concerned with having backup manual controls installed in every fully autonomous car, while the Chinese prefer to have a backup of their personal data.
As it stands, then, while consumers are slowly growing trustful of these strange vehicles, automakers are still required to have some safety feature to keep drivers mind at ease.