Towards the Implementation of Autonomous Vehicles - Stakeholders' Perspectives and Concerns
Abstract: A large part of the efforts of companies in the automotive sector today is directed towards the development of autonomous driving. According to many studies conducted in recent years, autonomous vehicles (AVs) have the potential to introduce a real revolution in mobility. However, those researches have focused only on certain aspects concerning self-driving cars and have failed to seek a broader perspective on the topic that takes into account the perspectives of all actors involved. This thesis, therefore, intends to capture the views of different stakeholder groups in order to outline a systemic vision that can ensure the social benefits promised by autonomous driving and provide guidance into how a city should prepare for the arrival of AVs. Specifically, through a qualitative analysis, the opinions of experts from car manufacturers, tech companies, research institutes, city municipalities and innovation agencies in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden, are consulted. At the same time, the views of potential users are also taken into account through a survey of 118 respondents. A careful analysis of the data collected reveals some interesting insights into the spread of self-driving cars. Firstly, the benefits afforded by AVs at the individual level could have detrimental effects at the aggregate level on traffic and sustainability. Therefore, public sector intervention is needed to incentivise the proper use of AVs, in the form of public transport or ride-sharing. Secondly, given the lack of awareness of this technology, it would be advisable to educate the public in the use of AVs. Considering city planning, it is desirable for the city to have a system of rules and allocate space primarily to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. Finally, with regard to the winning strategy for the successful development of autonomous driving, the emphasis is on collaboration between car and tech companies, governments and municipalities, regulatory agencies and end users. This research contributes to the literature on the subject by clarifying users’ perceptions about autonomous driving and shedding light on the major challenges for the deployment of AVs and their expected impact on urban mobility. Regarding the managerial implications, on the other hand, this study suggests an approach focused on collaboration between different actors aimed at promoting the use of AVs that can best lead to social benefits.
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