Seven out of 10 South African car buyers say they would be willing to travel in a self-driving car.

Johannesburg - South African car buyers, especially younger ones, are more likely to want advanced automation technology in their cars than their counterparts in the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Mexico, and South Korea.

Deloitte’s Global Automotive Consumer Study, released on Wednesday in South Africa, reveals some interesting changes in what people want in their cars - and how much they’re prepared to pay for it - over the past two years.

Karthi Pillay, Africa automotive leader at Deloitte, explained: “The younger generation is much more likely to show an interest in fully self-driving vehicles, and they’re more willing to pay for high-tech features - more than similar buyers in the UK and Germany.”

The Deloitte survey defines basic automation as a car that can do certain specific things for itself, while advanced automation combines at least two functions such as adaptive cruise control and lane centering - but always with the driver in control. Limited self-driving allows the car to take over driving under certain traffic conditions, compared to full self-driving where the car drives itself for an entire trip.

Almost seven in 10 South African motorists would be willing to travel in a self-driving car, given an established safety record, but they’re divided on who they would trust to ensure that safety. Half the drivers surveyed said they would trust traditional carmakers to build self-driving cars, the other half said tech companies would do a better job.

How much extra would you pay for it?

Three out of four South African customers want either basic or advanced automation in their cars - but buyers in China, Mexico and South Korea are more likely to want limited or full self-driving vehicles, while only half of local buyers want want limited self-driving technology, and just four in 10 would go for a full self-driving car.

But there’s a kicker: compared to two years ago, those same customers are unwilling to pay extra for gizmotronics. On average, in 2014 South African buyers were willing to pay R19 149 extra for advanced automation features in their cars; in 2016, they were only willing to cough up an extra R18 370.

As Deloitte Africa Automotive chief of staff Adheesh Ori put it: “South Africans are starting to expect some of these features to come standard.”

The top 10 high-tech features South Africans want in a car are functions that:

Recognise objects in the road and avoid collision

Take steps in medical emergencies or accidents

Enable remote shutdown of a stolen vehicle

Inform the driver of dangerous driving situations

Block the driver from dangerous driving situations

Prevent theft by restricting unauthorised access

Diagnose and send maintenance notifications

Help enhance fuel efficiency

Prevent hacking into vehicle systems

Enable vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.

But what about ride-sharing?

Only one in five South African car owners uses a care-sharing app once a week or more - and 42 percent say they never use them at all.

Nevertheless, more than a third of younger car-sharing customers are questioning their need to own a car in the future - which is one of the reasons why carmakers are getting into the ride-sharing business.

IOL Motoring

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