Americans Not Ready for Self-Driving Cars, Poll Finds

Is it OK to be drunk while riding in a self-driving car? A new poll overwhelmingly says no.


Americans aren’t ready for self-driving cars, according to a new poll from Morning Consult, and they certainly don’t think it’s OK to be drunk while riding in one.

In the poll, 43 percent of registered voters said driverless cars are not safe, while 32 percent said they are safe. More than 75 percent of voters expressed concerns about road safety, glitches, and having self-driving cars share the road with traditional cars. And 51 percent of voters said they wouldn’t ride in one.

Young people and men were mostly likely to see driverless cars as safe. Forty-five percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they believed the technology to be safe, while only 25 percent of people over the age of 65 said the same. Similarly, 44 percent of men said they were safe, compared to just 21 percent of women.

The poll found the older the voter, the less safe they found autonomous cars. Voters between the ages of 18 and 29 were most likely to say self-driving cars were safe (45 percent). After that, the numbers decreased. Thirty-seven percent of 30- to 44-year-olds said they were safe, followed by 27 percent of 45- to 54-year-olds, 23 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds, and 25 percent of voters 65 years and older.

The Morning Consult poll, which surveyed 1,869 registered voters from Jan. 29 to Feb. 1, 2016, also hinted that people are unlikely to change their minds any time soon. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) said they are unlikely to buy or lease a car with self-driving features within the next 10 years. Only 23 percent said they were likely to buy such a car, and 13 percent said they didn’t know.

Source: Morning Consult

Manufacturers have said self-driving cars would allow passengers to safely read, text, email, watch TV, sleep or get home after a night of drinking. However, the Morning Consult poll found people aren’t quite comfortable with that:

  • Text/Email: 53 percent said unacceptable, while 36 percent said OK
  • Reading: 58 percent said unacceptable, while 30 percent said acceptable
  • Watching TV: 59 percent said unacceptable, while 29 percent said acceptable
  • Being Drunk: 74 percent said it’s not OK, while 15 percent said it’s OK
  • Sleeping:73 percent said it’s not OK, while 16 percent said it’s OK

We’re still years away from people actually being able to purchase and ride in a self-driving car, so this negative outlook is understandable. This survey also raises some interesting questions about safety, insurance, liability, and ethics. Some believe self-driving cars could potentially eradicate drunk driving. But will you even be allowed to drink all night at the bars and then hop into your self-driving car? What happens if the system fails and you need to take the wheel while drunk? Does there need to be a designated driver?

Source: Morning Consult

Technology isn’t failproof, so self-driving car passengers need to be alert in the case of something going awry. Will you be able to quickly react and take the wheel of your self-driving car if you’re binge-watching your favorite TV show or taking a cat nap?

A recent study by the University of Michigan found there’s a lack of desire to work while being driven in an autonomous vehicle. This would certainly undermine one of the biggest selling points developers are pushing - the ability to be productive during a commute.

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About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe: scrowe@ehpub.com  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.




Comments

pgrayson · February 10, 2016 · 6:30 pm

Think of fully developed self driving cars as a limousine service.  You hire a car and sit in the back.  The car comes with an Driver Expert System that has several lifetimes worth of experience and can respond to developing situations within nano seconds.  Who does not want the Rock Star treatment?


pgrayson · February 10, 2016 at 6:30 pm

Think of fully developed self driving cars as a limousine service.  You hire a car and sit in the back.  The car comes with an Driver Expert System that has several lifetimes worth of experience and can respond to developing situations within nano seconds.  Who does not want the Rock Star treatment?


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