Apple Is Among Most-Trusted Brands to Develop Autonomous Vehicles

According to automakers, the invention of a consumer-friendly fully-autonomous vehicle is around the corner. The question is no longer "will it happen" but "who will do it first?"

Automotive research company AutoPacific conducted a recent study that gauged consumer perception on hands-off fully-autonomous vehicle technology. Respondents were given a list of 56 brands filled with automakers and popular technology companies, from Apple to Volvo.

Survey respondents selected the brands they trusted the most and the least when it came to developing a fully-autonomous vehicle.

Cadillac Lyriq EV
The 2023 Cadillac Lyriq starts at $59,995. General Motors

Tesla sits at the top of the list with 32 percent of consumers selecting the brand as the most trusted. The study hints that this trust could be credited to the popularity of the brand. Its most recent headlines surround the automaker's $12,000 (and controversial) Full-Self Driving assistance tech.

Current Tesla owners can sign up as volunteers and help test the Level 2 semi-autonomous hands-free capability for Tesla's research and development efforts.

Toyota landed in second with 19 percent of customers trusting it. The Japanese brand announced its first Level 2 semi-autonomous hands-free driving aid for the hydrogen-powered 2022 Mirai in early March.

Toyota Mirai
The 2022 Toyota Mirai will feature Toyota Teammate, the company's latest in advanced driver assistance technology Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Rounding out the top five, 18 percent of consumers picked BMW, 16 percent Chevrolet and 14 percent picked Ford. Both Ford and Chevrolet currently offer Level 2 semi-autonomous hands-free highway assists on various models. Ford's system is called BlueCruise and Cadillac's, which came to market first, is called Super Cruise.

The study found that younger consumers are more likely to trust BMW (42 percent of consumers ages 18 to 39) compared to the 25 percent who trust Chevrolet and 16 percent who trust Ford.

Despite not having a vehicle of its own on sale, Apple landed in the middle of the top ten with 13 percent of consumer's trust. Sony, another tech company, had a significant amount of votes , with 5 percent of consumers, but did not land in the top ten spots.

2022 BMW X4M
The BMW announced a Level 3 autonomous driving tech is coming in 2025. BMW USA

Honda, Audi, Subaru, and Cadillac make up the remaining four of the top ten most trusted automakers to develop safe and reliable fully-autonomous vehicles.

Of these four, Cadillac is the only automaker to currently offer a Level 2 semi-autonomous hands-free highway driving aid, available on select CT6, CT4, CT5, Escalade, and XT6 models, as well as the upcoming all-electric Lyriq crossover due for the 2023 model year.

When the study was broken down by age, 22 percent of younger shoppers ages 30 to 39 and 14 percent of shoppers ages 18 to 29 want autonomous vehicles as soon as possible.

This eagerness for technology begins to drop as the age brackets increase. Just 3 percent of polled consumers ages 60 and up reported wanting the technology as quickly as possible.

The results showed that most consumers, regardless of age bracket, are more comfortable waiting until fully-autonomous vehicles have a proven safety record.

At this time, there are no fully-autonomous or "self-driving" vehicles on sale today. Some automakers like GM, Ford, Tesla, and Toyota do currently offer more comprehensive ADAS suites that legally allow for Level 2 semi-autonomous hands-free driving on marked highways in ideal, safe conditions.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), requires that a driver's eyes and attention must be kept on the road when these hands-free systems are activated and in use.