More than three-quarters of licensed drivers said they would likely consider buying an autonomous vehicle if and when they become available, according to a new survey released Monday. Nearly one-fourth of those surveyed said they would buy one tomorrow if they could.
When asked whether they’d consider buying an autonomous car if it led to cheaper insurance, 86 percent of drivers told Insurance.com, which surveyed 2,000 motorists.
“People are aware that they already drive cars controlled partly by computers,” said Insurance.com managing editor Des Toups. “An autonomous car is not science fiction anymore.”
Despite a completely computerized car sounding like something from The Jetsons age, the reality is that our vehicles are already well on their way to driving themselves. Lane-keep assist, self-parking systems and adaptive cruise control are just a few features that make the cars we drive to day at least partly autonomous.
“We still don’t know how autonomous cars will communicate, who’ll be liable for failures, or how they’ll mix with old-fashioned cars,” Toups said. “But we’re already well down this road.”
Nearly a third of respondents, 31.7 percent, said they would cede driving activities to their car once an autonomous vehicle was available.
Some consumers still demonstrated some trepidation in trusting the technology. Roughly a quarter, 24.5 percent, said they’d never consider an autonomous car — though that number dropped to 13.7 percent if respondents learned about insurance discounts and safety improvements.
Seventy-six percent of respondents said they would not trust a autonomous car to take their children to school, and 61 percent said they didn’t think a computer is capable of the same decision-making behind the wheel as a human.
Gallery: New Tech Means Self-Driving Cars Are Already Among Us