Autonomous driving technology could slash total cost of ownership (TCO) for petrol and diesel cars as fuel costs are reduced by up to 30%, Nissan claims.
In addition, self-driving technology could eliminate the causes of accidents typically blamed on driver error, savings thousands of lives each year.
The findings are in a new report commissioned by Nissan called ‘Freeing the Road: Shaping the Future for Autonomous Vehicles’.
It estimates that autonomous vehicles will add 0.15% to Europe's annual growth rate in the decades to come, boosting GDP by €17 trillion by 2050.
However, Nissan warned that the benefits would only be achieved through the combined efforts of Europe’s politicians to legislate for the use of autonomous cars. Governments also have to commit to building the infrastructure that enables autonomous vehicles to operate.
Furthermore, carmakers will need to work with governments to build consumer confidence in the technology.
Currently, 23% of those who plan to buy a car in five or more years would consider one with self-driving technology, Nissan says.
Nearly half of consumers say the biggest disadvantage of autonomous cars is the possibility of the technology not working, followed by not having full control of the vehicle.
Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe, called on governments to work ‘hand-in-hand’ with the automotive industry on introducing the technology and ensuring consumers were confident enough to use it.
Nissan’s research reflects recommendations made in the Autovista Intelligence Autonomous Car report, which says OEMs need to lobby national governments and EU bodies to understand how they are approaching the autonomous car market.
In particular, they need to understand whether governments plan to introduce incentives to encourage individuals to buy self-driving cars and minimise the period when both traditional and autonomous cars are available.
The Autovista Intelligence report also urges OEMs to focus on building a robust TCO story to help support new car sales.
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