PhD Spotlight #5: “A study into innovation resistance toward autonomous cars in the UK”

Conor Ogilvie-Davidson

COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS – Bath Business School

In the United Kingdom, our economic stability and success largely hinges on our innovative car industry. Just under 200,000 UK citizens are directly employed in the development (some £2.4 billion worth of annual R&D spending), production and sales of 1.59 million vehicles destined for both domestic and export markets. Demand for British-manufactured models ranging from Vauxhall, Nissan, MINI’s and of course Jaguar & Land Rover models is increasing globally.

The rate of innovation in the car industry is quickening year on year, innovations currently in development have the potential to completely disrupt and transform the automotive and mass transportation systems that we know of today. The potential increase in efficiency, in terms of fuel consumption, traffic reduction and also freed-up man-hours is of great benefit to both our environment and economy respectively. But we must ask ourselves; what is the point of such innovations, if consumers are resistant to them and won’t adopt them?

Autonomous vehicles have long been a part of science fiction, now they are a reality.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs), those that communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure as well as driving themselves, are removing control and power from the driver. Control and power that for over 100 years we have been educated to manage and have become comfortable with; it’s the integral part of driving today.

Current government and industry funded research largely focusses on the engineering and technological challenges presented by large scale CAV deployment. My research will examine a range of literature from the fields of innovation, change management, marketing, design and engineering; as well as involving human participants, to investigate the levels of resistance among UK consumers to CAVs. My research will then develop and present marketing focussed strategies to the car industry aimed at increasing consumer trust in CAV technologies, and ensuring the continued growth of the UK car industry.

More from Conor can be found on his PhD website, and on Twitter:

Twitter: @codphd
Website: codphd.uk

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