Making autonomous vehicles our chariots for the future

Google Self-Driving Car (CC smoothgroover22, flickr)
Google Self-Driving Car (CC smoothgroover22, flickr)

Institutional Communication Service

21 June 2018

Autonomous vehicles have the potential to change the world just as cars did before them. This innovation brings us back to horse-drawn carriages, giving drivers the chance to travel as passengers. If vehicle safety continues to increase, given the benefits, it would be convenient to understand how the public will accept this technology. How to build customer’s trust? On what features should the industry concentrate to appeal to potential customers?

During the past semester, the students of the Consumer Behaviour class held by Professor Michael Gibbert within the Master in Marketing and Transformative Economy, researched this highly topical issue, through an innovative didactic method – based on a blog and group work – which analyses the issue by intertwining current events and theories.

During the presentations held at the end of the semester, results showed the need to identify new strategies to help the public embrace the change, without forgetting the ethical questions that this entails.

The approach of a new “sharing economy” favours access rather than possession and is popular among the younger generation who prefers experiencing things as much as using a product or a service, in a simple and personalised manner. Older consumers see autonomous vehicles as a threat to their independence, as the end of the gratification they get from driving and the legacy of engines. To convince nostalgics it might be important to focus on the freedom they will have in carrying out other tasks while on the move, the respect for the environment, the convenience and safety.

According to the students, manufacturing companies should strategically focus not only on how safe and trustworthy this technology is, but also on the benefits that this innovation could bring to individuals, society, the economy and the environment.


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