Self-driving vehicles are currently one of the hottest topics in the industry. Automakers and tech giants are making a lot of progress in the field, ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are claiming that the future is just around the corner and are already counting all of the savings they’ll make without having to pay full-time drivers, and lawmakers are just trying to get a time-out in order to figure out what’s going on and how to regulate it. With autonomous vehicles making so many headlines, one would presume consumers can’t wait for this whole mess to be over so that they can jump around in their self-driving Uber rides and personal cars. However, one would be wrong in that case, at least regarding the latter.
Namely, according to a national study conducted by Kelley Blue Book (KBB) earlier this month, most Americans find the idea of driver-free vehicles intriguing but will think thrice before giving up control of their vehicle and letting some artificial intelligence drive them around. No less than 64% of interviewees stated that they personally wouldn’t even consider being driven around by their car while 80% of polled Americans said that even if autonomous, humans should always have the option of taking control of the vehicle. Furthermore, KBB’s findings suggest that approximately half of Americans are so skeptical of self-driving vehicles that they wouldn’t cede control of their car to any degree even if it meant having safer streets with fewer accidents.
Surveys such as this one are rather rare given how we’re still at least several years away from actually being able to mass produce autonomous cars but it’s to be expected we’ll hear more opinions from consumers as we get closer to the self-driving future. However, while KBB’s findings require verification, they definitely cast enough reasonable doubt over claims about the imminent end of personal car ownership and similar futuristic scenarios that some proponents of self-driving tech have recently been predicting. It remains to be seen whether this skepticism derives from people’s natural fear of new technologies or if the issues run deeper as no amount of technological advancements will put autonomous vehicles on the road if consumers don’t want them to be autonomous.