J.D. Power - Japan: Ahead of the Automated Vehicle Adoption Curve?
"Multiple factors are accelerating automated vehicle technology development, including improving safety (ideally to the goal of zero fatalities), eliminating congestion, reducing pollution and creating a socially equitable mobility model. These goals are not unique to Japan; such a vision is shared around the world." -- Atsushi Kawahashi, J.D. Power
Picture this: It is the year 2035 in Japan and you have just hailed a car from a car-sharing company with your smartwatch. An all-electric, fully automated car arrives with no driver onboard. After telling the car of the destination, you are free to work! Your mind is at ease since the risk of collisions and being stuck in traffic is very low due to the high volume of automated vehicles on the highways.
While this seems like a dream scenario in 2018, day by day it is becoming more of a reality. Multiple factors are accelerating automated vehicle technology development, including improving safety (ideally to the goal of zero fatalities), eliminating congestion, reducing pollution and creating a socially equitable mobility model. These goals are not unique to Japan; such a vision is shared around the world.
But technical feasibility is only one piece of the puzzle. Are consumers in Japan ready for such a future?
According to a recent pulse survey by J.D. Power focused on Japanese consumers' acceptance of new mobility concepts, there is a distinction between the consumers' level of trust with Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) vs. with a fully automated vehicle. However, we find that Japanese consumers' reluctance toward full automation is not as severe as in countries like the United States and Germany. What is notable in Japan is the positive attitudes towards ADAS, which are some of the foundational building blocks of automated driving.
It may be difficult to believe that roughly 20 years have passed since the early ADAS technologies first appeared on the market. During that time, ADAS prices have decreased, penetration rates have increased and the technological pathway for automated vehicles is becoming more realistic.
Nissan's semi-automated Pro Pilot system became an instant hit when it was first launched in 2016 in Japan. Pro Pilot currently combines Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane-Keeping Assistance System (LKAS). Nissan was commended for their product marketing decision to launch this technology on their bread-and-butter minivan, the Serena. This option is bundled with other features and is priced closed to $2,000. To date, nearly half of Serena customers have purchased this package with the motivating reason being they wanted to experience automated driving. Such a large audience of consumers experiencing the technology signifies hope.
If consumers have a positive experience with ADAS systems such as Pro Pilot, trust will build and this will increase the likelihood of consumers wanting greater capabilities of automated driving. However, in addition to experience, manufacturers must be cognizant of other consumer concerns and proactively address them.