Consumers are apprehensive about driverless cars and pilotless aircraft, according to new research on the future of travel by Travelzoo.
The deals publisher surveyed 6,008 consumers in Canada, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States ahead of ITB, which takes place this week in Berlin.
Just over half of consumers (51%) expect to see driverless cars become the norm by 2030 while 36% expect aircraft powered by alternative fuels, and 31% think hyperloops will be common. Less than a third (28%) expect to see the return of supersonic flights in the next 12 years
Nearly three quarters (74%) of those surveyed agreed that the expected reduction in emissions, congestion and reliance on traditional fuel sources will improve the environment. Nearly nine in ten (88%) anticipated faster travel times and 63% a reduction in the stress of travel.
But 38% of respondents said they’d prefer to risk teleportation, a technology that doesn’t even exist yet, than driverless cars or pilotless aircraft to get to or from their holiday.
Just 7% said they preferred driverless vehicles to aircraft powered by ‘alternative’ fuels (32%) or a supersonic jet (31%). Overall, more than three quarters (76%) of consumers would not trust driverless or pilotless technology enough to travel in it, and 78% of travellers said they would be ‘very’ or ‘quite’ worried about its safety and reliability, compared to 55% for both supersonic aircraft and hyperloops.
Travelzoo’s Joel Brandon-Bravo said: “Advances in automation, artificial intelligence, design and materials, and pure necessity, are combining to drive a revolution in how we will travel and take holidays in the future. But our study emphasises that there is a trust gap that must be bridged. Only 8% of respondents globally said they would be comfortable flying in a drone—so a message to the entrepreneurs and organisers rushing to be first to market is that a huge majority of their potential customers need to be convinced about safety and reliability.”
The survey found that consumers are concerned that these new forms of travel will only be available to a few to enjoy. Eight out of ten believe they’ll be a luxury only a few can afford, and 60% doubt they would make travel more affordable. Only 4% of respondents said they would be prepared to pay ‘much more’ than they do now for their holiday travel.
But those surveyed expect pilotless aircraft or driverless cars to cost less, since the need for human skill has been removed, the survey found.