No matter how enthusiastic you may or may not be about the concept of a self-driving car, you likely know somebody who is the complete opposite of that. Some may say that they enjoy driving, while others may say that they're actually scared to get behind the non-wheel of a fully automated vehicle. Whether the cause is a lack of faith in the A.I., a lack of education about the details behind how a self-driving system works, or a number of other reasons, there are a great number of people out there that aren't terribly excited about the impending transportation revolution. According to a study published by the University of Michigan, the vast majority of United States drivers aren't too hyped.
Specifically, the study notes that about 95% of respondents wanted nothing to do with any vehicles that didn't sport a steering wheel, a gas pedal and a brake pedal. This comes on the heels of an investment feeding frenzy kicked off by General Motors paying $1 billion to scoop up Cruise Automation. As automakers and the tech world rush headlong into self-driving tech just as fast as they can possibly produce it, and advocacy groups push the government to enable it, it becomes clear that this crowd is the vocal, and perhaps inevitable, minority. A tech push started long ago, put into popularity by Google and picked up by just about everybody in tech and auto is only exciting news to about 15% of Americans, according to the University of Michigan's survey. Meanwhile, 39% of respondents were OK with partial self-driving or self-driving with the option for a human to take the wheel, and 46% wanted their cars to refrain from driving themselves.
While the study may seem to point to the entire tech and auto sectors pushing toward a bleak market, it should be considered that this tech is still vastly unproven. While many groups and companies are still developing their self-driving technology, some are in active testing in limited pilot areas. This means that most people never get a chance to see a self-driving car in action. Naturally, people who don't follow tech news will also not know things like Google's self-driving cars being considered too perfect to coexist with human drivers, with talk floating about of teaching them to break the law on the roads in the same ways humans do. As self-driving vehicles come into commercial use and availability, so long as things go as well as they seem to be going now, it should be a matter of time before they receive resounding public approval.