A realistic notion of the self-driving car has emerged in recent years and much research is being done to make it a reality. Such vehicles could revolutionize many aspects of life allowing those with limited mobility, sight, or other impediments to driving to be car users nevertheless with all the benefits of independence such vehicles bring to the individual. Additionally, there are those who may never have learned to drive and yet could reap the rewards of car ownership without the complication of understanding steering wheels, brakes, and accelerators.
Writing in the International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, a team from Germany discusses the market opportunities associated with an aging society. They focus on the transition from advanced driver assistance systems to the fully autonomous vehicle of the future that would enable personal transport for many more people.
Timo Günthner, Heike Proff, Josip Jovic, and Lukas Zeymer of the University of Duisburg-Essen in Duisburg, Germany, explain how there is stagnation in the marketing of conventional cars. As such, comfort and safety features are being pushed to the fore by innovative manufacturers eyeing the prize of selling to an older, richer market more concerned with such features than youthful exuberance and performance, as it were.
The pensionable “silver market”, as the team refers to it, is growing and increasingly willing to consider assisted driving systems, such as automatic parking and the like. It will be no great leap of the imagination to shift up a gear, figuratively speaking, and increase automated driving protocols to the point where the cars of the future for this niche will be fully autonomous, given appropriate regulatory approval. The team adds that there is not a simple linear relationship between age and willingness to pay and so more research in this area is needed while the technology that will ultimately underpin it matures over the next ten to fifteen years.
Günthner, T., Proff, H., Jovic, J. and Zeymer, L. (2021) ‘Tapping into market opportunities in aging societies – the example of advanced driver assistance systems in the transition to autonomous driving’, Int. J. Automotive Technology and Management, Vol. 21, Nos. 1/2, pp.75–98.