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Autonomous Auto Acceptance: A Qualified Maybe

By Matt DeLorenzo on July 28, 2014 5:58 PM
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In one of the first surveys to gauge the acceptance of self-driving vehicles, a sample of 2,000 U.S. drivers are split on the idea with 22.4-percent saying they'd buy a fully autonomous car, while 24.5 percent would never consider it. The survey, conducted by Insurance.com, saw the acceptance climb to 37.6 percent if ownership of an autonomous vehicle corresponded to an 80-percent reduction in insurance rates, while the never number decreases to 13.7 percent.

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More revealing was the number, 61 percent, that felt humans can make better decisions behind the wheel than a computerized car and only 31.7 percent said they would let the car operate autonomously all the time. And, an overwhelming 76.2 percent of the respondents said they would not trust a self-driving car to take a child to school. 

The Future is Now

"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."

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The survey's participants are aware of those changes, a total of 72.7 percent feel that the car of 2040 will not operate anything like current model cars.

Still, there are many questions left to be resolved before true autonomous automobility is a reality, according to Toups. "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" he said, adding "But we're already well down this road."