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Acceptance of automated vehicles: Gender effects, but lack of meaningful association with desire for control in Germany and in the U.S.

Klemens Weigl, Michael Nees, Daniel Eisele & Andreas Riener

Abstract #

Although automated vehicles (AVs) come with many promises such as enabling the driver-passenger to perform non-driving-related-tasks or increased safety, the public’s acceptance of AVs will have a crucial impact on whether or not AVs will be ultimately adopted. In particular, the personality trait desire for control may influence the acceptance of AVs, which has received scant research attention to date. Therefore, we independently carried out two questionnaire studies: Study 1 in Germany and Study 2 in the U.S. In both studies, we applied the self-driving car acceptance scale (SCAS) and the desirability of control scale (DoCS). In Study 1, we queried 114 participants (60 female) and in Study 2 we sampled data from 601 participants (322 female). In both studies, our findings consistently indicate that the overall DoCS factor was not associated with the overall SCAS factor. We only uncovered a weak positive correlation in Study 1, but only for a reduced overall acceptance factor with 10 items obtained by factor analyses instead of the 24 items of the SCAS. Furthermore, our results revealed that women assign significantly lower ratings to the overall acceptance factor of AVs as well as to the desirability for control factor than men, both in Germany and in the U.S., respectively. Despite the influence of gender on acceptance of AVs and DoCS, we conclude that there might be either no or only a weak association between desire for control and acceptance of AVs, which needs to be further investigated in future studies.