The View From the Rider’s Seat: Insights From Early AV Customer Experiences

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PAVE (Partners for Automated Vehicle Education) is conducting a series of virtual panels to discuss autonomous vehicles (AVs) and their societal benefits. The seventh panel, “The View from the Rider’s Seat: Insights from Early AV Customer Experiences”, discussed feedback and interpreted views of first-time AV riders. The panel featured PAVE members, including Dataspeed’s VP of Business Development, Dave Agnew. Dave was joined by Grace Chau, Head of Marketing and Senior Director of AV and Enterprise at Lyft, as well as Gretchen Effgen, VP of Global Partnerships at Aptiv.

One of the first questions asked was, “How does Dataspeed interact with first time riders?” Dave thoroughly explained that Dataspeed is a business to business company, and we engineer autonomous technology for other companies to use, not for use by consumers. However, he further clarified how Dataspeed has become involved in giving members of the public their first AV rider experience at SAE Demo Days in Detroit last year. Dataspeed is proud to shed light and understanding of autonomous technologies with the public. 

Demo Days, which were held in conjunction with WCX 2019 (World Congress Experience), offered a first-hand experience to ride in a Dataspeed autonomous vehicle. The weekend leading up to WCX, demonstrations were open to the general public. This event was designed to provide the Detroit community a hands-on experience with automated vehicles. Riders were able to experience several different types of automated feature demonstrations like stopping for a stop sign and obstacle avoidance on a half-mile course constructed by Dataspeed engineers. Dave elaborated that we did not just offer demo rides, we created an experience for first time AV riders and are happy to report that there were over 1,000+ riders and almost 99 miles driven autonomously.  

Another question that was asked during the virtual panel was, “How far off do you think the day is when panel discussions like this one, talking about first-time experiences are obsolete, because a lot of people will have had the first-time experience and instead will be having other discussions?”. Dave eagerly responded and mentioned that he has been working in the autonomous community “since the start of this wave, which has been the last 10 years.” He added in that “once the AV world was brought to light, everyone made a prediction of when autonomous vehicles will be here and ready to purchase, and every one of them have been wrong so far.” Dave says, “It’s such a tough question to throw out there, but from my perspective, based on who we are working with as a company, that I think we have a good five plus years in front of us until you can look outside and see autonomous cars zipping around across the country.”

Check out the full virtual panel recording below:

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