Self-driving cars are quickly becoming “a thing.” Proof points and whispers range from Apple in talks with Formula One car maker McLaren and auto startup Lit Motors, to the need for pay-per-mile car insurance, to ridesharing company Lyft saying car ownership will simply just disappear. All signs point to driverless cars gearing up quickly.
But which generation will be the one that revs these motors most?
The seemingly easy answer to this question may be millennials. They don’t like buying homes, they dismiss credit cards and they love the “sharing economy.”
Some analysts say: Pump the breaks.
As Baby Boomers age, their need for someone, or rather something, to drive them around becomes increasingly necessary. And that’s where the driverless car seems to be most needed.
Analysts are looking at the Baby Boomer generation to speed up the trend.
Others say it may take some time to normalize the idea.
Aging expert Jodi Olshevski told ZDNet: “It’s important for us to realize that just because a person is older doesn’t mean that they’re not interested and willing to adopt technology. They might be at a little different rate than some of the younger generations, but I think that’s just a result of exposure and awareness and comfortability with the technology.”
Last year, Olshevski worked on a study involving Baby Boomers and videos of self-driving cars. Gauging interest in adopting the technology, 70 percent reported that they would be willing to test this kind of vehicle, but only 31 percent said they’d make a purchase. About 40 percent said that, if they couldn’t drive due to health issues, they would change their minds against making a purchase.
Fortune goes so far as to say that advertising, or even making an effort to connect self-driving cars with millennials, is a flat-out “waste of time.” Studies showed that the under-40 group is already open to the idea of a self-driving car and related automation.
This will clearly make big changes in the auto industry. That said, according to Vox, all groups are still more nervous than excited. Car crashes currently take 40,000 lives each year in America, and the future is unknown about the overall safety of self-driving cars as they mix with human-driving cars.
The texting-and-driving issue may have a new evolution, for better or worse.
According to Nielsen research, millennials are more likely than Baby Boomers to be multi-taskers while consuming media. That includes purchasing things as they multitask, specifically while watching video.
What other things are millennials doing in terms of transportation? Choosing airports.
According to research out of ICLP, millennials choose airports differently than Baby Boomers (and Gen Xers, too). Parking and efficient security processes top the list, with the fact that millennials just overall enjoy the airport experience more.
According to a release on the study, millennials want to eat, drink and feel loved. They are much more influenced than Baby Boomers by food and drink options (33 percent of Baby Boomers vs. 47 percent of millennials) and airport loyalty programs (31 percent of Baby Boomers vs. 41 percent of millennials) to bring them back for more.
Other studies on what these two generations want in their airline experience take it one more step to say that millennials want choice and control, while Boomers want free Wi-Fi and work-life balance.
Skift reported that millennials want to have the option to choose and book from different travel companies, especially third-party sites, like Kayak and Trivago. Boomers don’t care about the booking process but rather focus on free Wi-Fi during their trip, after they get through security as quickly as possible.
Boston Consulting Group put out its own research on millennials and how they fly. Ironically, business travelers that are either millennials or not, they all spend the same on travel. However, BCG said that will change, and millennials will be spending a much larger amount of time heading to the airport, spending time in the airport and on their trip.
As travel and these two generations evolve, it will be interesting to see what kind of purchases are made. Income levels evolve and transportation needs do, too.
Regardless, what we do know is that self-flying planes aren’t yet “a thing.”