How much Americans are willing to pay for self-driving vehicles


Would you pay $10,000 more for a self-driving vehicle?

How about $4,900? Zero?

Researchers from Cornell University found a big difference in what consumers would be willing to pay for vehicle automation, ranging from more than $10,000 to nothing at all.

But the average came in around $4,900 for self-driving technology and $3,500 for crash avoidance.

Google is expanding its self-driving test program with the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

“Automation of personal transportation is becoming a reality at a faster pace than anticipated,” said lead author Ricardo Daziano. “Our study is an initial attempt to quantify how households currently perceive and economically value automated vehicle technologies.”

Automated technology now available on most mass-market vehicles include lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

The technically dense Cornell report, Are consumers willing to pay to let cars drive for them? Analyzing response to autonomous vehicles, comes not long after J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Tech Choice Study that suggested “consumers are growing increasingly wary of self-driving cars.”

The Cornell researchers surveyed 1,260 consumers from across the country, asking a series of questions based on a range of possible purchasing scenarios.

Here’s how the results broke down based on respondents’ willingness to pay for self-driving technology:

Most willing to pay – “Respondents are, on average, willing to pay a substantial amount for automation … an average of $2,784 and $6,580 for partial and full automation, respectively … with some respondents willing to pay large sums of money – on the order of $10,000 – for full automation.”

Less willing to pay – “Respondents appear to have moderate desire for automation … [and are] willing to pay $1,187 and $1,422 for partial and full automation,” substantially less than the most willing group.

Least willing to pay – “This class is likely composed of households that are not aware of driverless car technology, are skeptical of the technology” and are unwilling to pay a “positive amount” for it.

Across all groups, respondents “vary widely” in their willingness to pay for either type of automation.

“We expect to see less extreme [results] as automated technology matures in the market, knowledge of the technology spreads, and consumers learn about its benefits and costs,” said the report, which noted that awareness of driverless technology appeared to contribute to willingness to pay for it.

“Personal mobility is about to experience an unprecedented revolution motivated by technological change in the automotive industry,” said the Cornell report.

“The adoption of automated navigation systems has the potential to dramatically reduce traffic congestion and accidents, while creating substantial improvements in the overall trip experience as well as providing enhanced accessibility opportunities to people with reduced mobility.”

So, how much would you pay for it?