Aussies Love Advanced Driving Features, Though Less Sure About Autonomous Driving  

Survey learns attitudes of Australians to autonomous driving and automotive high tech features
Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au, Auto Talk, CleanTechnica, The Latch, Newcastle Herald, The Examiner, Illawarra Mercury, Professional Planner, New Idea, Canberra Times, Bendigo Advertiser, The Courier, Evee.com.au, MSN, The Australian, Stockhead, Yahoo Lifestyle, Smart Company, Yahoo Finance, Money Management, Proactive Investors, Glam Adelaide, Your Life Choices, Investor Daily, Real Estate Business, Homely.com.au, Money Mag, Yahoo News, Elite Agent, The West, Crikey.com.au, Yahoo Sports, AIB.edu.au, Domain.com.au, Nine.com.au, Mortgage Business, The New Daily, MPAMag, and NestEgg.com.au. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
Our authors
, updated on October 10th, 2023       

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As part of Savvy’s research into Australian consumer sentiments and technology, we look at attitudes towards a new automotive frontier: AI-assisted or autonomous driving features in new car models.

  • 47% of Australians have some level of concern about AI or autonomous driving features
  • 26% of 18–24-year-olds trust autonomous driving compared with just 5% of over 55s
  • 52% of Australians choose 360° cameras and assisted parking as must-have tech in new cars
  • 50% say blind spot monitoring, followed by 35% saying a touchscreen display is important
Autonomous self-driving car, at a zebra crossing with distracted man crossing road

A representative survey of 1,000 Australian adults by Savvy has shown that 52% of respondents say that autonomous parking features such as 360° cameras are their “must have” feature in a new car.

Artificial intelligence (AI) or autonomous driving technology is becoming a mainstay in Australian automotive. This has been encouraged in part by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program including “active safety” technology as part of its new safety rating criteria as of January 2023.

Other active safety measures Australians consider important in a car purchase are blind spot monitoring (50%), emergency braking systems (32%), adaptive cruise control (28%), and lane change assist (18%).

35% of those surveyed said touchscreen displays were important, followed by Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration (34%), and keyless entry and/or a dedicated smartphone app (31%).

Women were more likely to choose safety features over men, such as 56% of women choosing 360° cameras as important compared with 56% of men. 37% of women versus 27% of men saw emergency braking as important, while 38% of men over 32% of women saw a touchscreen as a “must have” feature.

Safety feature importance seemed to increase as cohorts got older such as 44% of 18-24s saying blind spot monitoring was important over 62% of 55-64s.

General tech such as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto was of most importance to 18-24s (50%) decreasing among all subsequent cohorts, with only 18% of the over 65s stating the same.

Autonomous & Advanced Driver Assist Systems Survey 2023 Infographic

Generation gap: young say yes, older drivers cautious

Though we may be a long way from driverless cars, 22% of Australians say they don’t trust and feel uncomfortable with new driving or autonomous tech, with 25% saying they have some doubts and concerns.

Only 9% say they fully trust and feel comfortable with autonomous driving. 23% said they were neutral about the tech.

26% of 18-24s said they fully trust autonomous driving tech; only 8% of 45-54s, 3% of 55-64s, and 2% of over 65s saying the same.

Savvy spokesperson Adrian Edlington says that EV charging stations and solar power may be as desirable as outdoor entertaining areas or pool decks when looking for places to live:

“In an earlier report, men aged forty to sixty-four are the highest risk of being a road fatality in Australia, and autonomous driving technology could possibly bring this awful statistic down,” he says.

“As more of these technologies are refined and included in new cars and electric vehicles, it’s inevitable Australian drivers will embrace them as potentially life-saving and useful technologies. Manufacturers who neglect these new technologies as a cost-saving measure will likely get left behind.”

Which advanced technology features do you consider important in a car purchase?

Total1000Male (499)Female (495)Other (6)
Keyless entry / dedicated smartphone app31%34%27%50%
Apple CarPlay / android integration34%33%35%-
Touchscreen display35%38%32%50%
Adaptive cruise control28%33%23%17%
Electronic door handles7%7%6%-
Hands-Free Power Tailgate / Boot11%9%13%17%
Lane assist18%21%16%33%
Blind spot monitoring (& other driving safety features)50%46%53%67%
360 view cameras (& other parking / reversing features)52%48%56%50%
Emergency braking32%27%37%17%
Other3%4%2%-

*respondents choose top three features

To what extent do you trust or feel comfortable with the idea of autonomous driving capabilities in vehicles?

Total1000Male (499)Female (495)Other (6)
I fully trust and feel comfortable with autonomous driving capabilities9%10%8%17%
I trust and feel mostly comfortable, but with some reservations20%23%18%17%
I am neutral or unsure about autonomous driving capabilities23%25%22%17%
I have some doubts and concerns, but may consider it25%20%30%33%
I do not trust and feel uncomfortable with autonomous driving capabilities22%22%23%17%

Do we have driverless cars in Australia?

As of September 2023, there are no driverless cars on the roads in Australia. Driverless cars are vehicles that require no user intervention to control. They theoretically work using a mixture of GPS technology, detection sensors such as LADAR (light or laser scanning) and cameras that “sense” obstacles and other moving objects using artificial intelligence through a powerful onboard computer. This computer is responsible for “driving” the car and whether it should take certain actions based on the data it receives from the car and outside world. This technology is new and still needs refinement. It’s unclear when this sort of technology will be available in Australia.

The combination of GPS, detection sensors, and computer control forms the basis for assisted or autonomous driving technology.

What is adaptive cruise control?

Adaptive cruise control is a type of driver assistance or autonomous driver technology that adjusts your car’s speed to match the car in front, reducing the risk of collisions. High-end cars feature this technology and they cost $2,000 extra if not offered as a standard feature.

What is autonomous emergency braking?

Autonomous emergency braking is an emergency braking system that kicks in if a driver is at risk of imminent collision into an object in front of the car. Using cameras and AI, the computer will override driver input to stop the car as quickly as possible.

What is lane keep assist?

This technology warns drivers if you start to drift out of your lane and theoretically prevent crashes due to poor driver attention or fatigue. Some automatic lane keeping systems will steer the car back into the lane. Many different models and car marques have lane keep assist built in, with varying degrees of accuracy. Some newer models may even work without clear lane markers. This may cost $1,500 to include in a car, though automated steering models will cost more.

What is active parking assist?

Using a combination of 360° cameras, LADAR, and artificial intelligence, active parking assist will hand over control of your car to a computer to complete parking procedures by itself. The driver will not need to steer the car at all. Many new models may have this included, but the more common addition is passive parking assist, which helps drivers with parking using cameras, artificial overlays, and proximity alarms to prevent crashes or scrapes. This costs about $1,000 extra to include in new cars.

What is blind spot monitoring?

Blind spot monitoring is a sensor, usually using cameras or LADAR or a combination thereof, that helps detect other vehicles and obstacles to the driver’s side and rear, usually unseen under normal driving circumstances (hence “blind spot.”) They can warn the driver about potential collisions through visual cues, alarms, or vibrations. Some blind spot monitors may be used in conjunction with other autonomous systems to avoid crashes, such as rear-cross traffic alert, which alerts drivers backing out of parking spaces when traffic is approaching from the sides. Autonomous brakes may take over in this situation.

Source: Savvy's 2023 Automotive Survey: n=1000

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About Savvy

Savvy is one of Australia’s largest online financial brokers, focusing on personal and commercial financial products. Founded in 2010, the firm has seen rapid growth, a testament to their provision of market leading rates and reaching customers with the latest in media and technology. Savvy is a proud supporter of Kids Under Cover, a charity assisting homeless and at-risk youth to strengthen their bonds to community and education. Savvy was named one of BRW’s fastest growing companies in 2015.

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