Public opinion and consumer preferences are among the various constraints on the rollout of automated cars, as they will affect the decision-making of both automotive industry actors and public-sector regulators. This study contributes to the growing body of the literature regarding this issue, through a moderate-scale survey (n = 370) that incorporated both prioritization/attitudinal questions (regarding public opinion) and a stated-preference module (to identify consumer preferences). The survey protocol includes a stated-preference approach to investigate consumers’ preferences for the possibility of very high rates of speed in automated cars on long-distance journeys. We found separately identifiable effects for average travel speeds (manifested as journey duration) and maximum travel speed in the stated-preference scenarios. In the ‘prioritization’ component of the survey, respondents ranked having the ‘highest possible level of safety’ as the single most important benefit that they would like automated cars to deliver, ahead of benefits such as being able to performing activities while traveling or having traffic congestion reduced. This result has consequences for the car-following distances that are programmed into the control algorithms of automated cars. Documenting this finding is important, as decisions must be made in the near future by driving-algorithm designers, public-sector regulators, and ultimately the judiciary regarding the guidelines for acceptable automated driving-behavior instructions.
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Public priorities and consumer preferences for selected attributes of automated vehicles