The Chinese are much more positive about autonomous vehicles than Americans, according to a new report from Ford.
In fact, citizens of India and Brazil — two other large, developing countries — also appear to be considerably more hopeful about a future with self-driving cars than those from more developed nations, such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany.
And what this means is that if and when autonomous vehicles become fit for widespread adoption, different regions or countries may approach them differently.
"What this tells us is that autonomous vehicles are not going to be a universal solution, they are only one option" said SherylConnelly, who is manager of global consumer trends and futuring at Ford.
Instead, the picture is nuanced and is driven by context.
Ford asked 10,000 people in nine different regions around the world whether or not they agreed with the statement "I am hopeful about the future of autonomous vehicles." The survey was included in Ford's 2018 Trends Report, which examines attitudes around the world on a wide variety of topics, many of which are not directly related to transportation.
The Chinese were most positive about an autonomous future — 93 percent of respondents in that country agreed with the statement. India was close behind, with 81 percent agreeing. Three-quarters of Brazilians surveyed agreed.
And 71 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which were combined in the survey, said they agreed.
Compare that with the considerably smaller numbers seen in developed countries. Just 52 percent of Australian respondents agreed. Half of the respondents in both the United States and Canada agreed. Only 45 percent of respondents from the United Kingdom said they are hopeful about an autonomous future, as did just 44 percent of Germans.
The table below breaks down how much respondents from different countries agree with the statement "I am hopeful about the future of autonomous vehicles."