As the motoring world inches closer to welcoming fully-autonomous passenger vehicles on the road, it’s important to bear in mind that with every increase in the number and complexity of sensors, processors, and data loggers on a given vehicle comes a corresponding increase in price.
So just how much added cost are consumers willing to swallow in order to have a car that can pilot itself? According to research from Cornell University, summed up earlier this week by Fortune, the average American buyer would be willing to spend around $3,500 more for a given vehicle if it came equipped with partial automation, and $4,900 more if it had full-blown self-driving capability.
Granted, there was a range of different responses from the study’s 1,260 respondents, with some saying they would pay more than $10,000 extra for an autonomous car, and others saying they would not pay for the technology. Of course, given that recent estimates put the cost of full-autonomy at around $250,000 using current technology (according to Quartz), the findings of this Cornell research will likely remain purely academic until costs can be reduced.
It’s worth noting that Cornell conducted this research in late-2014, well ahead of another, more recent study which suggested that many consumers had lost confidence in self-driving car technology. That lack of trust remains yet another unsurmounted obstacle for autonomous vehicles.