Frustrated with the mind-numbing traffic, Indians just can’t wait for autonomous cars.
Out of respondents surveyed in 28 countries recently by market research firm Ipsos, Indians are the most desperate to lay their hands on self-driving cars. Close to 50% said they wanted these automobiles.
The survey covered over 21,000 people for their views on these cars, potential ownership models, and regulations.
“The study found that while throughout the developed world there was widespread interest in autonomous vehicles, in countries like India and China, enthusiasm was far more pronounced,” Ipsos said in a statement.
India is the world’s fourth-largest auto market where a growing middle-class population and rapid urbanisation are steadily pushing up the demand for vehicles.
However, India’s infrastructure is years behind. Road accident-related deaths in the country are among the world’s highest. In 2016 alone, there were 1,50,000 such deaths, which comes to around 400 a day. Besides, traffic jams in the country’s top four cities cost a massive $22 billion a year, according to a recent report by cab-hailing service Uber.
So all that explains the interest in self-driving vehicles among Indians, who cited comfort and safety as key benefits of such vehicles.
However, the Indian government has so far been dismissive of the idea. ”I have a reservation (against) driver-less cars in India,” Nitin Gadkari, India’s minister for road transport and highways, said last year, underlining job-losses as the concern.
Government apprehensions aside, India also lacks the basic infrastructure needed to make self-driving cars a reality, Ipsos said. Its streets are pothole-ridden, narrow, and ruled by law-breaking drivers—a deadly mix for autonomous vehicles.