September 15, 2021
By Regine Boensch
A new study shows that the majority of respondents in the EU think that autonomous vehicles are safe and sustainable. However, they fear that the massive deployment of autonomous vehicles could lead to data protection breaches.
Autonomous and networked vehicles are now so developed that there isn’t much that stands in the way of their widespread use on the road, at least from a technical point of view. The public acceptance of this type of car in the population is not so clear. EU citizens from Germany, Italy, France and Great Britain largely consider the vehicles to be safe and sustainable. However, they are concerned that they will not meet your data security expectations.
This is the result of a new study that was carried out at the Chair for Consumer Psychology and Economic Psychology at the University of Mannheim as part of the joint EU project “PAsCal”. This examines networked and autonomous driving with a special focus on acceptance in society.
Expected positive environmental effects of autonomous driving
The team led by Tobias Vogel, Florian Kutzner and Celina Kacperski asked 600 test subjects from four European countries about their assessment of four factors: the efficiency of autonomous vehicles, their sustainability, driving safety and protection compliance. of data.
The result: Most agree that automating the car will increase safety on the roads and have a positive impact on the environment. Opinions differ as to whether these vehicles also influence the efficiency of road traffic. This means, among other things, travel time, travel speed and speed of vehicles.
Different attitudes in the countries
On the other hand, study participants tended to rate the impact on privacy negatively. They doubt the correct use of the data generated while traveling and also see the danger of surveillance, especially by companies and governments.
There are also differences between countries: residents of Italy and the United Kingdom are more optimistic, while those of Germany and France fear more data breaches.
“The ambivalent attitude of the study participants is surprising,” says study director Kacperski, commenting on the survey results. “Driverless cars are often portrayed very positively and optimistically in newspaper and television reports. This basic positive attitude of the media is not reflected so clearly in the opinions of the people.
The University of Mannheim represents Germany in the EU project
The University of Mannheim is the only institution in Germany that participates in the Joint EU project “PAsCal” is involved. The project with its 13 consortium partners has been funded by the Horizon 2020 funding program since 2019 with a total of 4 million euros over three years. The focus is on the attitude of the EU population towards connected and autonomous cars, motorcycles, buses and trucks. Various social groups are surveyed, based on age, education, economic class or gender. The general objective of his subproject is to derive concrete recommendations for politicians in order to strengthen social acceptance.
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