טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentHaboucha Joanne Chana
SubjectUser Preferences Regarding Autonomous Vehicles:
Implications on Private Vehicle Ownership
DepartmentDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Supervisors Professor Yoram Shiftan
Dr. Robert Ishaq
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

Technological advances are changing all aspects of the way we live. Many major car manufacturers and software developers claim that fully autonomous cars will be publicly available within the next decade. The introduction of autonomous vehicles (also known as driverless or self-driving cars) to the market is fraught with uncertainty, as the public must first accept and embrace this new technology.

Little research exists to date on the potential behavioural shifts and underlying motivations to use autonomous vehicles. The objective of this study is to better understand individual motivations for choosing to use or refrain from using autonomous vehicles and to develop a model for autonomous vehicle long-term consumer choice decisions.

A stated preference questionnaire is distributed to 721 individuals living across Israel and North America who currently drive their private cars for their commute to work or school. A web-based survey is used, and information is collected on the individuals’ socioeconomic characteristics, current commute trip characteristics and attitudes. Based on the characteristics of their current commutes, individuals are presented with various scenarios and asked to choose the car they would use for their commute. A vehicle choice model which includes three options is estimated:

1)      Continue to  commute using a regular car that you have in your possession

2)      Buy and shift to commuting using a privately-owned autonomous vehicle (PAV)

3)      Shift to using a shared-autonomous vehicle (SAV), from a fleet of on-demand cars for your commute

A factor analysis determined that five latent variables describe the individuals’ attitudes: technology interest, environmental concern, enjoy driving, public transit attitude and pro-AV sentiments. The effects that the characteristics of the individual and the autonomous vehicle have on use and acceptance are quantified through random utility models such as the logit model. A nested logit structure is introduced to model the simultaneous decision of whether or not to use an autonomous vehicle, and whether or not that autonomous vehicle should be shared, resulting in a nesting structure that groups private vehicles (regular vehicle and PAV) together. A logit kernel (LK) model is then estimated to account for the panel effect and capture the correlations of the choices of the same individual. The differences in choice decisions between Israel and North America are examined.

Currently, large overall hesitations towards autonomous vehicle adoption exist, with 44% of choice decisions remaining regular vehicles. Early AV adopters will likely be young, students, who are better educated and spend more time driving. Even if the SAV service were to be completely free, only 75% of individuals would currently be willing to use SAVs. Methods to encourage SAV use include increasing the costs for regular cars as well as educating the public about the benefits of shared autonomous vehicles. An examination of the “consistent” induvial (those who always chose regular vehicles in each given scenario) determined that these individuals are significantly older, less educated, have a lower income, and are willing to spend less on a new car.