Many Americans Dismayed by Advent of Self-Driving Cars

 
 
By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2016-10-06
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - Many Americans Dismayed by Advent of Self-Driving Cars
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    Many Americans Dismayed by Advent of Self-Driving Cars

    Even though there are a lot of advantages to autonomous vehicles, many Americans don't want to give up control of their cars, according to a Kelley Blue Book survey.
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    2 - The Question of Safety vs. Control
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    The Question of Safety vs. Control

    Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said they would rather have full control of their cars, even if it makes the roads less safe.
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    3 - Not Everyone Agrees Autonomous Cars Are Better
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    Not Everyone Agrees Autonomous Cars Are Better

    Sixty-three percent of respondents said roads would be safer with fully self-driving cars, and 60 percent said it's important to share vehicle information to make roadways more efficient. That means 37 percent believe having humans drive is safer and more efficient.
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    4 - Don't Take Away My Driving
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    Don't Take Away My Driving

    Of the 2,264 people surveyed, 80 percent said they should always have the option to drive themselves, 64 percent said they need to be in control of the car, and 62 percent said they either love to drive or that driving seems like fun (people surveyed ranged in age from 12 to 64).
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    5 - When Are Autonomous Cars Needed?
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    When Are Autonomous Cars Needed?

    The survey found that 59 percent of respondents said the best use case for fully autonomous cars is when people have been drinking alcohol. Another 37 percent said it was for senior citizens.
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    6 - Steering Wheels and Cold, Dead Hands
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    Steering Wheels and Cold, Dead Hands

    Thirty percent of people said they'd never buy a fully self-driving car, though even more (35 percent) said they would once they become more comfortable with the idea. Sixteen percent said they will buy one the minute they're available.
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    7 - What Are You Talking About?
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    What Are You Talking About?

    Americans are more familiar with the terms "self-driving vehicles" (79 percent) and "driverless vehicles" (70 percent) than "autonomous vehicles" (41 percent).
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    8 - It's Big in Tech, but Not So Much in the General Population
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    It's Big in Tech, but Not So Much in the General Population

    Six in 10 people either know nothing about driverless cars (25 percent) or little about them (35 percent). Twenty-eight percent know something about them, while 12 percent said they know a lot.
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    9 - Eh, It's Not Going to Matter Anyway
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    Eh, It's Not Going to Matter Anyway

    The majority of Americans—62 percent—don't expect to see fully autonomous cars in their lifetime, though that changes depending on age. Seventy-six percent of Baby Boomers (ages 51 to 64) don't think they'll be around when such cars are on the road, while only 33 percent of young Generation Z members (12 to 15) feel the same way.
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    10 - Looking at the Levels
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    Looking at the Levels

    Most Americans are aware of the first two of five levels of autonomous vehicles. Levels 1 and 2 are here now (offering some automated functionality) and are known by as many as 94 percent of respondents, though there is a drop-off in knowledge about levels 3 (self-driving with some human help), 4 (fully autonomous but with options for human control) and 5 (no option for human driving).
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    11 - There Are Some Places for Self-Driving Cars
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    There Are Some Places for Self-Driving Cars

    Use cases for Level 3 and 4 cars that some Americans agree with include highway travel (about 41 percent), family travel (about 39 percent), when you're out of town on vacation or business (36 to 39 percent) and commuting to work or school (about 33 percent).
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    12 - Let's Hear It for Level 4
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    Let's Hear It for Level 4

    When forced to choose just one level that most appeals to them, 30 percent of respondents opted for Level 4 cars, followed by Level 2. Surprisingly, Level 5 cars most appealed to 17 percent of respondents. Level 1 vehicles were lowest, with 11 percent.
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    13 - Price and Security Are Major Concerns
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    Price and Security Are Major Concerns

    What's keeping people from being more enthusiastic about self-driving cars (Levels 3, 4 and 5)? There's costs (they'll be too expensive to buy or fix), security (software hacks or failure) and comfort (drivers who trust themselves more than technology or wouldn't be able to relax with a computer driving).
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    14 - What Could Remove Those Barriers?
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    What Could Remove Those Barriers?

    The key is proving that the autonomous vehicles are safe, respondents said. In addition, if the cars are in their price range, a drop in insurance rates and tax breaks could help. People also want to be able to test the cars without being committed to buying anything.
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    15 - The More Automation Drivers Get, the More They Like It
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    The More Automation Drivers Get, the More They Like It

    Fifty-four percent of those who own Level 2 cars believe people should always have the option to drive themselves, while 85 percent of those who don't own Level 2 cars agree.
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    16 - The Younger the Person, the More Positive the Answer
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    The Younger the Person, the More Positive the Answer

    Forty-eight percent of what Kelley Blue Book calls Young Gen Z members—ages 12 to 15—are comfortable letting a car drive them without their intervention. That compares with 36 percent of all respondents. Thirty-eight percent of Young Gen Z members said they found Level 5 cars most appealing. By contrast, 9 percent of Baby Boomers felt the same way.
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    17 - It's a Luxury
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    It's a Luxury

    Half of people who own luxury cars are comfortable with the idea of fully autonomous cars with no human option, and 64 percent believe they're safer. That compares with 31 percent of non-luxury car owners in their comfort level, and 45 percent who believe they're safer.
 

There's a lot to like about self-driving cars. They promise to make roads less dangerous and reduce fatalities, they will lessen traffic congestion and make cars more energy-efficient, and they will make it easier for many segments of the population—such as seniors, the disabled and those too young to drive—to get around. However, according to a recent survey by vehicle buying guide Kelley Blue Book, there is one key aspect that many Americans disagree with: They don't want to give up control of their cars. In the survey, a slim majority of respondents say they don't want to stop driving their cars, even if it means making the roads safer. They want the option to drive and they enjoy driving. It's not surprising given Americans' long love affair with their cars. Still, autonomous vehicles are on their way. Many already have some automatic functionality, from braking to parking, and companies are testing completely self-driving cars on the road. Automakers, tech vendors and ride service companies all are pushing forward with developing and testing self-driving cars. However, if the Kelley Blue Book survey is any indication, the technology may get there sooner rather than later, but it will take a long time for Americans to warm up to the idea.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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