South Africans are divided on who they trust the most to bring self-driving technology to market, with half of consumers preferring tech companies and the other half choosing traditional car manufacturers, reveals the Deloitte Global Automotive Consumer Study, released in South Africa on Tuesday.
“This is an interesting finding as a new ecosystem takes shape,” says Deloitte Africa Automotive chief of staff Adheesh Ori.
The study also finds that 47% of South African consumers desire limited self-driving technology, with 39% interested in full self-driving vehicles.
Limited self-driving is defined as the technology suite that allows the vehicle to take over all driving functions under certain traffic and environmental conditions, compared with full self-driving where the vehicle takes over all driving functions for an entire trip.
The Deloitte study notes that younger South Africans are more willing to pay for technology when compared with older generations.
“When we look at the future of mobility, the younger generation is much more likely to show an interest in fully self-driving vehicles, and they are also more willing to pay for in-vehicle technologies when compared to older generations,” says Deloitte Africa Automotive leader Karthi Pillay.
The Deloitte study defines basic automation as a system that allows the driver to be in complete control with the vehicle performing specific automated tasks, while advanced automation combines at least two functions, such as adaptive cruise control and lane centering technology.
The study shows that although the desire for advanced vehicle technologies has increased in South Africa, the willingness to pay for these features has not shown the same upwards curve.
In 2014, local consumers were willing to pay an additional R19 149 for these features, on average, but in 2016, they would pay only R18 370.
“Just as in developed economies, South Africans are starting to expect some of these features to come as standard when purchasing a vehicle,” says Ori.
“Only when they derive significant additional benefit are they prepared to pay extra.”
The Deloitte study reveals that South African consumers are most interested in technology features with a safety slant, while convenience and service enabling technologies resonate the least with consumers.
The top five most desired features were technologies that recognise objects on the road and avoid collision; take steps in medical emergencies or accidents; enable remote shutdown of a stolen vehicle; inform the driver of dangerous driving situations and block the driver from dangerous driving situations.
The five least desired features were technologies that allow the driver to control automated home systems; provide passengers with customised entertainment while driving; empower customers to personalise vehicles; automatically pay parking and toll fees and help manage daily activities.
“The automotive industry is experiencing a period of intense disruption, and consumers are starting to make their voices heard as to which innovations they value most. It will be interesting to see how the industry develops as advanced technology becomes more widespread,” says Pillay.
The Deloitte study indicates that ride-sharing, such as Uber, does not yet threaten South Africa’s culture of car ownership, with only 21% of consumers using ride-sharing services at least once a week, and 42% saying they never use such services.
In this study, ride-sharing was defined as a car-sharing service where consumers hire a car or driver over the phone or using an app.
Interestingly, more than a third of the younger consumers who use ride-sharing services question their need to own a vehicle in the future.