Letting go of the wheel:

Understanding the nature and role of consumer trust in autonomous vehicle adoption

The adoption of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) relies in large part on consumers’ perception of risk and trust in AV technologies and innovations. While consumers exhibit less trust toward “practical” vehicle innovations, such as driver assist, “irrational” features—those that create a pleasurable driving/riding experience—may have the opposite effect on trust. Behavioral research suggests positive emotional attachment to an object (e.g., an AV) or activity (e.g., driving) reduces perceived risk. Can these findings help to understand consumer reactions to AV technology, and promote AV adoption? This two-year project will examine the nature and influence of consumer trust on AV acceptance. In the first phase, we will characterize consumer trust and investigate its influence on risk, emotional response, and ultimately on AV acceptance. The second phase will use an experimental design to evaluate consumers’ emotional responses to different AV communications and marketing strategies.

Project Phase: Conceptual development

Funding Acknowledgement: OSU Center for Automotive Research