Autonomous Driving Index

Autonomous Driving Index

Over the last few months, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with consulting firm Progenium in creating the first, comprehensive Autonomous Driving Index. We interviewed experts from five countries and evaluated 23 factors; the chart above illustrates the eight factors we have initially identified as having the highest impact in the adoption of L4/L5 autonomous driving. Our study is unique in that it recognizes the importance of differing use-cases for these autonomous vehicles – in metropolitan vs. non-metropolitan use-cases, and in private, public-transport, and commercial transportation environments.

Here are the high-level takeaways of this initial study, with a special focus on the US and Germany (we’ll be updating the results as we add further country inputs):

First, and perhaps most importantly, there is no single “silver bullet” that will lead to adoption.

The factors that will accelerate adoption of autonomous vehicles (L4/L5) – while varied – are highly interdependent and must be aligned with one another.

Second, clearly differentiated approaches between use-cases are required.

Factors with the greatest impact on the adoption of autonomous driving vary widely between metropolitan and non-metropolitan environments, as well as between private, public, and commercial transportation. For example, economic considerations such as labor costs are significantly more relevant to the adoption of autonomous technology in commercial vehicles. Given that commercial vehicles have both an important signalling effect and a positive return to the economy, governments and industry are well advised to prioritize economic viability of autonomous vehicles for commercial users.

With the most to gain, logistics firms should take particular note of these results.

Based on the assessment of 23 factors by our panel of experts, the “tipping point” for the adoption of autonomous driving is currently closest to being achieved for non-metropolitan, commercial transport.

Third, our research suggests that governments must turn their attention toward infrastructure investments.

In our research and interviews with experts from five countries, technological and road infrastructure were together seen as having the greatest single impact on autonomous vehicle adoption. At the same time, perhaps surprisingly, financial incentives from governments were seen as having low impact.

Fourth, education to build social acceptance of autonomous vehicles is a joint task.

The social acceptance of new technology – including artificial intelligence, digital tech and sharing economy applications – is among the top-five factors in the adoption of autonomous driving across all countries and use-cases. Building this acceptance through experiences and education will be a key success factor.

Lastly, each nation has a different starting point. The identified factors will impact the adoption of autonomous driving at various rates.

In our initial assessment, we compared Germany and the USA. Germany is seen to be lagging behind the US (and also the UK and other countries) with respect to many of the factors that most strongly impact autonomous vehicle adoption – with the exception of road infrastructure. Highly-visible autonomous taxi projects in the US, decades of assisted driving research done in Sweden, active pilots in the UK, and notable L4/L5 autonomous vehicle projects from France illustrate leadership that Germany needs to regain. The good news: it’s still early in the game.

This study was conducted by Merlin Stevenson (Managing Director, Munich), Lukas Neckermann (Associate Manager at Progenium and Managing Director of Neckermann Strategic Advisors, London), and Alina Zimmermann (Business Analyst). For more information, please contact PROGENIUM’s Munich or London offices (munich@progenium.com, london@progenium.com).