Would You Trust A Computer To Be Your Chauffeur?
SEE ALSO: Henny A Passenger As BMW Goes Driverless
Nov. 4, 2013 Foster City, CA; CarInsurance.com asked 2,000 drivers whether they would buy an autonomous car if it meant they never had to drive again, and 20 percent of them said yes. That number soars if cheaper car insurance is part of the deal.
The survey found that one in five Americans would never take the wheel again if a self-driving, or autonomous, car were available.
While 20 percent of the 2,000 licensed drivers surveyed said they would gladly turn over the keys, interest in autonomous vehicles soared when the prospect of dramatically reduced insurance costs was introduced. More than a third of those surveyed said an 80 percent discount on car insurance rates would make purchase of an autonomous vehicle â€œvery likely,â€??? and 90 percent of drivers said they would at least consider the idea.
Cars that park themselves, navigate stop-and-go-traffic or avert an impending collision are already on U.S. roads today. Nissan has promised to deliver a fully autonomous vehicle -- one that allows a computer to assume control under the right conditions -- to showrooms by 2020. A fully automated vehicle that doesn't need a human operator could someday follow.
"Our survey shows cheaper insurance will greatly influence consumer acceptance," said CarInsurance.com managing editor Des Toups. "Some of the liability of operating a car will doubtless be assumed by the manufacturer," Toups said. "But a lot of the decrease in rates could come simply because there would be many fewer accidents."
Trust will be a big hurdle, the survey results show:
- 64 percent said computers were not capable of the same quality of decision-making that human drivers exhibit.
- 75 percent of respondents said they can drive a car better than a computer could.
- 75 percent said they would not trust a driverless car to take their children to school.
The survey also asked consumers which companies they would trust most to deliver driverless-car technology.
- Communications company such as Sprint or Verizon: 1 percent
- Consumer products company such as Apple or Samsung: 12 percent
- Software company such as Google or Microsoft: 15 percent
- Start-up automaker such as Tesla: 18 percent
- Traditional automaker such as Honda, Ford or Toyota: 54 percent
Asked what they would do with their additional free time, drivers responded:
- Text/talk with friends: 26 percent
- Other: 21 percent
- Read: 21 percent
- Sleep: 10 percent
- Watch movies: 8 percent
- Play games: 7 percent
- Work: 7 percent
The "Other" category included two significant write-ins. More than 10 percent of respondents wrote in some variation of "enjoy the scenery" and 9 percent wrote in "watch the road","hold on for dear life" or something similar.