US drivers still not confident about prospect of self-driving cars


A new report from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) has found that among US drivers their preference is for vehicles with no self-driving capability.

The research follows a similar UMTRI study from July last year which argued only 15% of 505 respondents would be happy with completely self-driving cars. This time around, with responses from 618 US drivers, the numbers are similar; again, 15% say they would be happy with self-driving cars, compared to 38% for partially self-driving and 45% - up 2% from last year – with no driverless capabilities.

As a result, the report’s authors, Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak, argue: “Public opinion has been remarkably consistent over the two years that this survey has been conducted. The general patterns of responses have not changed over the course of these two surveys, despite the increased media coverage of self-driving vehicles.”

There was little difference in opinion between genders, although men (19.4%) preferred the idea of completely self-driving cars to women (11.8%). Perhaps not surprisingly, those in the older age bracket (60+) were more comfortable with no self-driving.

On a similar theme, participants were also more likely to be concerned over riding in a completely self-driving vehicle, compared to one which was partially self-driving – and again, older respondents were more concerned than younger respondents. Almost all of those polled (94%) said they would want to have a steering wheel as well as gas and brake pedals on self-driving cars in case the worst were to happen.

Schoettle told this publication in July that he would expect the results to “get more positive over the coming years…the technical problems will get worked out and it should become clear just how much safer these vehicles can be when compared to the average human driver.” For the time being at least, the fears are yet to go down.

You can find out more about the report here.

Leave a comment


This will only be used to quickly provide signup information and will not allow us to post to your account or appear on your timeline.