Car Buying

Self-Driving Cars: Trust May Be a Bigger Hurdle Than Technology

RELATED READING
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon

author photo by Russ Heaps July 2016

Afraid to put your trust in self-driving cars? If so, you aren't alone. According to a survey conducted by the nonprofit motoring organization AAA, only one out of five people would trust a car to totally drive itself with them in it. Moreover, three out of four people admitted to being afraid to ride in self-driving cars.

The reasons for this anxiety are all over the map, but fear of the unknown seems to play a major role. People who own cars with some semi-autonomous features, such as adaptive cruise control and forward-emergency braking, are 75 percent more likely to trust autonomous technology than those who have never experienced it, says AAA.

Despite the apparent widespread suspicion about self-driving or autonomous vehicles (AVs), a majority of consumers are comfortable with some semi-autonomous features, and nearly two thirds of those surveyed admitted to wanting at least one semi-autonomous feature on their next car. Lane-keep assist (41 percent), adaptive cruise control (40 percent), automatic emergency braking (39 percent) and self-parking technology (25 percent) were the most commonly lusted-after features among survey respondents who expressed a desire for semi-autonomous technology in a future car.

The Whys

When pressed for reasons for resisting self-driving technologies, survey respondents offered up an array of reasons. The most common objections were as follows:

  • They trust their own driving skills more than technology (84 percent).
  • The technology is too new and unproven (60 percent).
  • The technology is expensive (57 percent).
  • The technology is annoying (45 percent).

Venus and Mars

On average, women and men view AVs and semi-autonomous technologies differently. Why? Who knows, but men are more likely to embrace AVs and the current crop of self-driving technologies more readily than women.

  • Women are almost twice as likely as men (23 percent vs. 12 percent) to cite complexity of operation as a reason not to adopt a semi-autonomous feature.
  • Women are less likely than men (35 percent vs. 42 percent) to want automatic emergency braking on their next car.
  • Women are less likely than men (36 percent vs. 44 percent) to want adaptive cruise control on a future car.
  • Women are more likely than men (50 percent vs. 42 percent) to name stress reduction as a reason for wanting semi-autonomous technology in their car.

Generation Gap

Not surprisingly, millennials are more willing to accept self-driving technologies and AVs than older generations. Raised with computer games and smartphones, technology isn't quite the mystery for them that it is for baby boomers or even those from Generation X.

  • Baby boomers are more likely than younger generations (82 percent vs. 69 percent) to be afraid to ride in an AV.
  • Millennials are the age group most likely (33 percent vs. 22 percent of baby boomers and 20 percent of Gen X drivers) to want self-parking technology in their next vehicle.
  • Millennials are most likely (45 percent vs. 37 percent of Gen X drivers and 34 percent of baby boomers) to want adaptive cruise control on their next car.
  • Millennials and Gen X drivers (64 percent and 63 percent) are more likely than baby boomers (49 percent) to cite extra cost as a reason for not wanting semi-autonomous technology on their next vehicle.

What It Means

When talking about self-driving cars, most experts point out the technological and logistical hurdles as the primary reasons why AVs are probably still years if not decades away; little consideration is given to the human factor. But it looks like selling the public on turning over the reins of their vehicles to computers may be a much bigger hill to climb than anyone thought.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Self-Driving Cars: Trust May Be a Bigger Hurdle Than Technology - Autotrader