Researchers from Cornell University found that the average U.S. household is prepared to pay $3,500 for some automation and $4,900 for full automation on top of the normal price of a car. That number varies widely from household to household—a large group of people were willing to pay above $10,000 for a self-driving capability, while many others wouldn't pay anything for it, according to the study in Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies.
"Automation of personal transportation is becoming a reality at a faster pace than anticipated," the study's lead author Ricardo Daziano said in a statement. "To plan for and analyze the large impacts of automation, policymakers and car manufacturers need to understand the market. Our study is an initial attempt to quantify how households currently perceive and economically value automated vehicle technologies."
To find out how much people valued different features, the researchers surveyed 1,260 people across the U.S. about hypothetical vehicles with different prices.
The study also found that the demand distribution for self-driving technology was evenly spread between high, modest, and low interest, so researchers suggested that auto dealers should create flexible sale options for automation features as they become more available on the market.