Autonomous Vehicle

CarGurus study throws new light on autonomous vehicle ownership in next decade

United States: CarGurus, an online automotive marketplace, announced its latest consumer sentiment research focused on autonomous vehicles (AVs). The CarGurus Self-Driving Vehicle Sentiment Survey compiled and analyzed consumer feedback on AV-related topics like comfort with self-driving, how people imagine utilizing the technology, and timeline to adoption.

The study has shown that over the past two years, familiarity with AVs has grown while excitement has remained stagnant. When asked how comfortable they were with the advancement of self-driving technology, 37% of respondents were neutral and 33% expressed excitement, whereas in 2019, 31% of consumers were neutral and 32% excited. According to the study, it appears that respondents still want to maintain control of a vehicle with 53% of respondents preferring to remain the driver of a self-driving car. They are least comfortable (20%) sharing the roads with self-driving delivery trucks or fleets, which is a major use case in which the technology is being deployed.

As with electric vehicles, respondents chose Tesla (34%) as the most trusted brand to work on self-driving vehicles, followed by Apple (8%) and Toyota (7%). However, nearly two in 10 respondents do not trust any brand to do so, and with 56% wanting brands to bear the responsibility in the case of any accidents, there is a long way to go to earn consumers’ trust. Tesla is also the top AV brand that shoppers would consider with 54%, followed by Toyota (35%) and BMW (32%).

Despite some apprehension around self-driving vehicles, consumers still have high hopes around their capabilities. More than half (56%) of respondents would use AVs to drive them home safely when unable to do so themselves and 42% would want their AV to be able to park itself. Despite this, consumers expressed the most interest in advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) like back-up cameras (39%) and blind-spot monitoring (56%), features that many cars already have (42% and 17% of drivers respectively report already owning them).

“This year’s Self-Driving Vehicle Sentiment Survey from CarGurus makes clear that autonomous vehicles’ tech offerings need to align with how people want to use them,” said Madison Gross, Director of Customer Insights at CarGurus. “While there is hesitancy around self-driving technology, how consumers envision themselves using the technology would require full autonomy – which is still a goal that the industry is striving toward. Until then, shoppers are looking for driving technology that helps them stay in control, rather than technology that takes total control.”

Additionally, the study covered:

  • Timeline to adoption, with 34% of consumers saying they will be likely to own an autonomous vehicle in the 10 years.
  • Which aspects of autonomous vehicles excite consumers, like being a huge leap in technology (45%), and which concern them, like safety (51%) and cost (45%).

The full results of the study can be found here, and all inquiries can be sent to


In April 2021, CarGurus surveyed 1,247 automobile owners in the U.S. through an online survey on their sentiments towards self-driving vehicles and driver- assistance features. Respondents were balanced in terms of key demographics (gender, region, income) according to the U.S. census. CarGurus also surveyed owners in 2019 (n= 1,146) and 2018 (n=1,873) for earlier iterations of this benchmarking study. In addition, the study was conducted in Canada and the U.K. in 2021.

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