Shifting Into Gear:

New car buyers' preferences and expectations with the automated vehicle

"There is clearly a lot of consumer excitement and intrigue about the topic of fully automated driving, but not a full understanding..."

Kay Stepper, vice president and regional business unit leader, driver assistance and automated driving, Robert Bosch LLC.

About the survey

Bosch recently conducted a survey to further understand the sentiment of car owners toward automated driving and ADAS features. The survey reached 1,000 U.S. based new car buyers, aged 18 or older, who have purchased or leased at least one vehicle within the last five model years, and intend to buy or lease a new vehicle again in the future.

Take a look at the results below!


Research study indicates new car buyers are bullish on automated vehicle adoption.

Automated vehicle ownership expections



of new car buyers in the U.S. expect to own at least one self-driving automobile in the next 10 years.

Over one third (35%)

of those who expect to own a self-driving automobile said all vehicles they own will be self-driving within the next 10 years.

Only 14% of new car buyers surveyed expect to never own at least one self-driving vehicle, while 14% are unsure.


Survey shows that general awareness of ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) and active safety systems is low.

The survey results revealed a key trend: new car buyers see ADAS features as future innovations, not necessarily as options that are accessible now.

While a majority of consumers accept the idea of owning a self-driving automobile in the next decade, many do not understand the advanced driver assistance systems, like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active safety technologies, like electronic stability control, currently available on the market.

Awareness of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) technology

ESC was first introduced to the market by Bosch in 1995, and has been a mandated feature on all vehicles since the 2012 model year.

Despite the importance and wide-spread use of this life-safing technology, the survey responses indicate that consumer awareness is surprisingly low.

In fact, the study revealed that only 21% of respondents believe ESC is currently available on all vehicles.


Perceptions of top safety features now and in the future

Despite the fact that many ADAS and active safety features are available today, when asked to name the number one safety feature on their vehicle today, the most frequent answer from respondents was “airbag.”

When asked to name the number one safety feature on their vehicle in 10 years, the most frequent answer from respondents was either an ADAS or automated feature.


New car buyers see reduced traffic accidents as main benefit of automated vehicles, but concerns remain about lack of control.

Automated vehicle top benefits and concerns



Reduced traffic accidents

was the top benefit (cited by 61%).

#2 & #3 BENEFIT

More free time & lowered stress

followed as the 2nd and 3rd most cited benefits (each indicated as a top benefit by 55% of respondents).



Lack of control & safety

were cited as key concerns (each indicated as a top concern by 72% of respondents).


Automated vehicles will be the new status symbol in the future

Attitudes toward automated and traditional vehicles vary among new car buyers when it comes to which option is better.

Results of the survey reveal that respondents trend toward traditional vehicles as the most financially feasible.

  • Nearly 59% of respondents believe a traditional car is better when it comes to the purchase price
  • More than 47% of those surveyed believe repair and maintenance costs would be more manageable in a traditional vehicle compared to a self-driving one

In terms of prestige, sustainability and comfort, however, automated vehicles are the popular choice.

  • More than 52% of respondents believe self-driving cars will be the next status symbol
  • Another 52% of respondents indicate self-driving cars will have the best fuel economy
  • Nearly 50% of respondents believe self-driving cars will offer the best in passenger comfort