New Study Says American Motorists Want Self-Driving Cars

Amer­i­cans haven’t nec­es­sar­i­ly fall­en out of love with the auto­mo­bile. They just don’t enjoy the art of dri­ving as much any­more, and a grow­ing num­ber of Amer­i­cans seem ready to hand over com­mand to autonomous vehi­cles.

“Peo­ple are aware that they already dri­ve cars con­trolled part­ly by com­put­ers,” said Insurance.com Man­ag­ing Edi­tor Des Toups. “Now they see fea­tures like col­li­sion avoid­ance on new mod­els and hear about Google cars hit­ting the roads in a cou­ple of years. An autonomous car is not sci­ence fic­tion any­more.”

A new study finds that ful­ly three-quar­ters of licensed U.S. motorists would be very like­ly to con­sid­er, if not buy, self-dri­ving vehi­cles. And if offered low­er insur­ance rates, the fig­ure jumps to a whop­ping 86%, found web­site Insurance.com.

READ MORE about the find­ings.

The study also found a fair bit of skep­ti­cism on the part of the Amer­i­can motor­ing pub­lic.

Near­ly 60% of the 2,000 licensed dri­vers sur­veyed said they didn’t believe an autonomous vehicle’s com­put­er sys­tem could match the deci­sion-mak­ing of a human dri­ver.
75% said they’d be hes­i­tant to allow a ful­ly dri­ver­less car to take their chil­dren to school.
 Motorists are eager to add many of the new safe­ty fea­tures that will ulti­mate­ly come togeth­er in an autonomous vehi­cle, such as for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing with auto­mat­ic brak­ing.
Motorists con­tin­ue to hes­i­tate when it comes to com­plete­ly giv­ing up con­trol. Slight­ly less than one in three – 31.7% – would be hap­py to nev­er get behind the wheel again.
Legal and reg­u­la­to­ry issues are seen by autonomous experts as the sin­gle biggest obsta­cle to mass adop­tion of dri­ver­less vehi­cles
 Three-quar­ters of the sur­vey respon­dents expect all 50 states will pass leg­is­la­tion allow­ing autonomous vehi­cles on the road by 2035
The major­i­ty of respon­dents antic­i­pate vehi­cles being mass pro­duced by 2035 and won’t have steer­ing wheel, gas or brake ped­als, even rearview mir­rors or horns.

There’s grow­ing pres­sure to add autonomous tech­nolo­gies to vehi­cles, espe­cial­ly at the gov­ern­ment lev­el, where self-dri­ving sys­tems are seen as the best way to reduce high­way crash­es. Some car­mak­ers, includ­ing Vol­vo and Nis­san, have even set goals of achiev­ing zero fatal­i­ties in the not-too-dis­tant future.

The Japan­ese mak­er has already set a goal of launch­ing pro­duc­tion of its first ful­ly autonomous vehi­cle by 2020. And ear­li­er this month, Nis­san CEO Car­los Ghosn said in Japan that the automak­er will be adding a num­ber of new, near-autonomous fea­tures to its vehi­cles by 2016. That includes one tech­nol­o­gy that will make it eas­i­er to safe­ly cross a crowd­ed urban inter­sec­tion.

Most man­u­fac­tur­ers con­tin­ue to empha­size either semi-autonomous dri­ving, or plan to at least leave a human pilot in place, ready to take con­trol if there’s a tech­ni­cal glitch. But start­ing this year, tech giant Google plans to begin rolling out the first of 100 pro­to­type vehi­cles that will not even have a steer­ing wheel or ped­als, only an emer­gency shut-off but­ton.

Most of today’s dri­vers aren’t ready to hand over con­trol, at least not yet.

Read the orig­i­nal arti­cle in its entire­ty.

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