Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Systems Engineering


Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Valerie Maier-Speredelozzi


Autonomous Driving (AD) is no longer a part of a science fiction film but is going to be soon becoming a reality. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) have defined six levels of automation. There are six defined levels by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), ranging from no automation (SAE-0) to full automation (SAE-5). Officially, Autonomous Vehicles (SAE-5) and vehicles with a high degree of automation (SAE-3, SAE-4) are not fully available for purchase on the market yet, although it would be technologically possible. Vehicles with automation level SAE-2 have already penetrated the market and SAE-3 is not far away. For constantly growing technologies such as higher automation levels of vehicles to successfully dominate the market, they must be accepted by consumers. People's acceptance plays an essential role, usually even more than the technological aspect. Regardless of how well a technology is developed, if it is not accepted and used by the consumer, it is of very little use.

Based on the literature, SAE-4 has received the least investigation but is not far away from being available on the market. Thus, study aims to investigate public acceptance of vehicles with SAE-4 in the countries USA and Germany which are both well-prepared for Autonomous Driving (AD).

In order to gather data from the public and make conclusions from it, an online survey with Qualtrics was prepared and conducted in both countries. The survey consists of 35 questions and took a maximum of 15 minutes. To investigate the user’s acceptance, a technology acceptance model (TAM) was extended by incorporating four additional constructs, namely initial trust (INT), perceived benefit (PB), perceived safety risk (PSR), and perceived financial risk (PFR). The acceptance of both countries was found to be very similar. A rather positive trend towards higher automation level can be clearly identified in both countries. This study provides an important overview of the preferable automation level of the people. By consideration that vehicles with SAE-3, SAE-4, and SAE-5 are not fully available on the market yet, these findings show that a significantly high amount of people would prefer to use higher automation levels. By consideration of the limitations in this study, these empirical findings could provide an important evidence for car manufacturers, governments, insurance agencies, and marketing agencies in order to adapt technology on market to users’ acceptance.



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