Consumers Don’t Really Trust Self-Driving Cars, Studies Show

Fully self-driving (autonomous) cars are becoming increasingly common in markets across the world thanks to rapid advancement in driverless technology. However, a new study finds the overwhelming majority of people don’t really trust driverless cars. The vast majority of people in the UK, specifically, feel safer in a human controlled vehicle than a self-driving vehicle.


People Feel Less Safe in Self-Driving Vehicles

According to Intelligent Car Leasing’s research on the type of vehicle, people feel safest traveling in, only 1 in 6 British individuals aged 18 to 65 years and above say they would feel safest in a self-driving vehicle. A large majority (just under two thirds) of the 1750 individuals surveyed by Intelligent Car Leasing indicated they would feel safest in a human-driven vehicle. Respondents aged over 65 years had by far the highest confidence in human-driven vehicles.

Loss of control feelings was cited as one of the reasons people have low confidence in autonomous vehicles. Other people are apprehensive about autonomous vehicles simply because they don’t understand enough about the technology behind driverless cars. And public reports in the media of autonomous vehicle failures and maintenance issues also don’t inspire a lot of trust in driverless cars.

Intelligent Car Leasing’s study corroborates another recent study by Aviva that also found more people just don’t want to be transported in driverless vehicles. Aviva surveyed 2,134 individuals on road safety technology in the UK and 42 percent of respondents said they would rather be in control of their vehicle. Another 41 percent of respondents said they would not trust the [autonomous] tech on newer cars.


Figures from Other Markets Differ Slightly

In the US, studies basically repeat data that resembles what is seen in other markets like the UK, Germany and China. People generally don’t trust self-driving cars and are nervous about the coming onslaught. One study from MIT asked nearly 3,000 people about their interest in self-driving cars. Nearly half (48 percent) said they would never buy a car that completely drives itself. Respondents also said they are uncomfortable with the loss of control and don’t feel self-driving cars are safe.

The figures representing people who don’t yet trust driverless cars might vary between countries and cultures, but a clear theme emerges suggesting that giving riders a bit of control over the car’s behavior could help build trust. Also, educating people on the various technological advancements in driverless cars and the safety of the vehicles can help them overcome their skepticism about autonomous cars.

As Alain Dunoyer PHD from SBD Automotive, a research body on automotive technology says, cars will gradually become more autonomous over the next 20 years. It is, therefore, important for driverless car manufactures to focus on reassuring the public of the safety and benefits of autonomous vehicles in a modern world.


“If the public’s lack of confidence and concerns aren’t addressed it seems likely that autonomous vehicles will be a commercial flop,” writes Intelligent Car Leasing study authors in their report.

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