Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 18th January 2019

Autonomous vehicles are being hyped as the future of the car industry, though it’s been revealed that many people are confused as to what the term actually means. A survey carried out by Avis Budget Group highlighted consumers find it difficult to tell the difference between connected and autonomous cars.

The research contains the results of 14,000 people from 14 European countries. The statistics showcase a divide in understanding between various age groups. The survey asked people to choose the right definition of a connected car. 54% correctly thought the term meant ‘a car connected to the Internet which could talk to other devices,’ while 17% didn’t understand the term. 13% believed the term applied to a battery-operated car connected to a power supply. 7% were of the opinion that it was a car physically attached to another.

The same approach happened with the term ‘autonomous vehicle.’ 56% correctly believed the term to mean ‘a car which drives itself,’ while 17% believed it was a car driven by an ‘artificial intelligence droid.’ 7% thought the term applied to a car that needed to be parked in its own parking spot or away from traffic.

The age group that showed the lowest understanding was 18-23, with 47%. 51% applied to 24-36 year olds and 67% for 66 and over. This was an interesting contrast because younger age groups were shown to prefer an autonomous car over the one they currently owned.

At 49%, the 24-36 age group was shown to have the highest inclination of choosing an autonomous car. This compared to 47% of 18-23 year olds and 26% for 66 and over.

As a region, Germany had the highest understanding of the correct definition of an autonomous vehicle, coming in at 69%. Austria and Switzerland came in joint second with 68%.

President of Avis Budget Group, Mark Servodidio, said “this study highlights the stark gap in levels of understanding across Europe about mobility technologies. It’s clear as any industry we need to educate consumers across markets and age groups, highlighting the innovations and technological advances that have been made – which have helped make developments that were once seen in science fiction, a reality.”