A new study has found that Americans still distrust self-driving cars and believe they are “not ready for primetime”.
The research comes from Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE), a coalition of self-driving car industry players and nonprofits which aim to boost the public’s sentiment towards autonomous vehicles.
Cars provide us with freedom and we often hold a sentimental attachment to them. Combine that with the general tendency of humans to resist change and it’s easy to understand why improving public opinion of autonomous vehicles is an uphill battle.
Here are the key findings:
- Almost three in four Americans believe autonomous vehicles are “not ready for primetime”.
- 48% say they’ll “never get in a taxi or ride-share vehicle” that is driverless.
- 58% think safe autonomous vehicles will be available within ten years, while 20% believe they’ll never be safe.
- Just 34% think the advantage of driverless vehicles outweigh any potential disadvantages.
- Only 18% would be willing to put their name down on a waiting list for a driverless car if one was available.
Many people, including yours truly, would have assumed that bad publicity due to driverless car accidents would have significantly impacted the public’s sentiment towards such vehicles. However, the majority of respondents are unaware of the news relating to such accidents.
Most Americans know “nothing at all” (51%) or just “a little” (37%) about the fatal crash involving a Uber self-driving vehicle in Tempe. Similarly, the majority of Americans know “nothing at all” (49%) or “a little” (38%) about the incidences of Tesla Autopilot causing crashes.
Supporting PAVE’s work is that 60 percent of Americans would trust autonomous vehicles more if they better understood how they work. 58 percent said they’d have greater trust in such vehicles if they could ride in one.
You can find the full research from PAVE here (PDF)
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