Americans Still Prefer To Do The Driving Themselves

Autonomous Car

Poll shows that most of us wouldn’t buy a fully-autonomous car.

It seems as though everyone from auto manufacturers to tech start-ups and even ride-sharing companies have been spending huge amounts in a bid to develop viable autonomous vehicle technologies. It is clearly not a simple task as the many widely publicized accidents have shown, and according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll an even bigger challenge will be to change the public’s mostly negative perception surrounding autonomous tech.

The poll shows that half of US adults feel that automated vehicles are more dangerous than traditional vehicles while almost two-thirds say they wouldn’t consider buying an autonomous vehicle. Fully-autonomous vehicles are still some way off, some say decades, but more relevant to auto manufacturers today is the fact that 63 percent of those polled wouldn’t pay extra for self-driving features while 41 percent of those that would say they wouldn’t spend more than $2,000 on it. These findings are largely in line with previous polls of a similar nature.

Experts say that suspicion of unknown technology usually results in non-acceptance and seeing as most Americans have yet to ride in a fully autonomous vehicle, that may change as they become more familiar with it.

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"People are comfortable with things they know,” said investor Chris Thomas, co-founder of Fontinalis Partners and Detroit Mobility Lab. "When everybody understands the game-changing attributes of automated vehicles, how they can give you back all that time to read or work or sleep, they will start to ask about the value of that recaptured time.”

It seems as though not much will change until the technology has had time to mature and two-thirds of respondents said self-driving cars should be held to higher government safety standards than traditional vehicles driven by humans. "Somebody needs to be held accountable,” said survey respondent Carla Ross, 62, a teacher from Norfolk, Virginia.

"Those cars shouldn’t even go on the road until they can guarantee a certain percentage of safety.” Clearly, we still have a long way to go yet before autonomous tech and government regulation catch up to people’s expectations.

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