How To Market A Self-Driving Car?

Mon 29th Nov 2021

Following criticism that motorists are being misled by the capabilities of ‘self-driving’ cars the government has issued a list of guidelines for manufacturers to follow when automated driving systems are introduced in 2022.

The move comes after Tesla drivers in the United States became confused by terms such as ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving’ despite road safety bosses in the US explaining that driver attention is required 100 per cent of the time. The worry comes as drivers are more likely to remember the marketing, rather than the actual instructions on a manufacturer's website.

British roads are set to allow vehicles with automated systems from next year, with Level 3 autonomy meaning that the vehicle can take control of itself, keeping it in lane so the driver does not need any input. On Level 3 the driver can take over at any point or if requested.

The new guidelines mean that any new technology must be described sufficiently clearly and must not mislead.

“It is essential that this revolutionary technology is marketed accurately and responsibly, and we are delighted to have brought together industry, government and other key stakeholders to develop a series of guiding principles that will ensure consumers will have clarity and confidence over their capabilities from when these advanced vehicles first make their way into showrooms,' said Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Some countries have banned certain words from being used in autonomous vehicle technology, with German courts forbidding the word ‘Autopilot’. It is sure to be a tricky task according to Jim Holder, editorial director of What Car? 

“Having a set of guiding principles to protect UK customers is a welcome move and will help ensure manufacturers are consistent with their language and the boundaries of the technology in their vehicle,” Holder said.

“The difference between automated driver features and driver assist features are big, and many buyers remain unclear about the limitations of the technologies.

“With developments in autonomous driving taking place at an increasingly rapid pace, it’s important manufacturers remain honest with buyers. 

“Autonomous cars will help reduce road accidents, but only when the technology is fully developed, and this has to be accurately communicated to buyers.”