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New Study Sheds Light on Public Acceptability of Connected Automated Vehicles

26 March 2024
Photo: Pexels

How willing the public will be to accept more sustainable technology, such as connected automated vehicles (CAVs), even before such products are commercially available? A recent study provides significant insights into public acceptability of CAVs on public roads.

The study, titled "Acceptability of Connected Automated Vehicles: Attributes, Perceived Behavioural Control, and Perceived Adoption Norm", examines which factors influence public acceptability of CAVs, which are “fully automated vehicles equipped to communicate and share data with other devices both inside and outside the vehicles.”

Automation has to a large extent already become normalised to drivers of newer vehicle models, such as parking assist and adaptive cruise control to assist the driver. But CAVs represent a more fundamental change in the driving experience and lower level of control than most drivers may feel comfortable with. 


This transportation technology is still in development, which means that nearly 3,800 survey respondents from across Europe who filled in an online survey for the study could not provide answers about their experience with or adoption rates of CAVs. As such, the study focused instead on people’s perceptions of the technology’s potential benefits and drawbacks, and how those would influence their willingness to eventually accept CAVs on public roads.

The authors of the study - Jorick Post, Ayça Berfu Ünal, Janet Veldstra, Dick de Waard, and Linda Steg – found the people perceive both pros and cons of using CAVs. While such vehicles have potential to increase traffic safety and decrease greenhouse emissions from traffic due to ensuring more efficient traffic flow and reducing traffic jams, their fully automated nature may raise concerns of trust and control, and their connective capabilities may raise concerns of privacy and security.


More sustainable, lower emission products entering the market have the potential to minimize the damage caused by climate change. However, these products can only have a meaningful effect if they are widely accepted and adopted. The study has implications for policy and manufacturing (in particular CAVs) regarding the future of transportation, and suggests that highlighting the positive attributes of CAVs – specifically on how safe and environmentally friendly CAVs are - can enhance their acceptability among the public.

Last modified:26 March 2024 1.45 p.m.
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