Automotive Editor Gary Gastelu talks to Coast Autonomous senior
adviser Rick Baker about the company's self-driving technology for
Americans are embracing self-driving car technology following
high-profile incidents involving Uber and Tesla vehicles, according to
a new study from Cox Automotive.
interest in automatic braking and other autonomous features is high,
but drivers view self-driving cars as less safe compared to a similar
survey conducted two years ago. Forty-nine percent of respondents said
they would never own a fully-autonomous car, known in the industry as
a Level 5 vehicle. Two years ago, 30 percent said they would never buy
a majority of people (63 percent) believed in 2016 that roadways would
be safer if all vehicles were fully autonomous. That number has
dropped to 45 percent.
awareness around the development of autonomous technology increases,
we’re seeing some dramatic shifts in consumer sentiment,” Karl Brauer,
executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, said in a news
release. “People now have a deeper understanding of the complexities
involved when creating a self-driving car, and that has them
reconsidering their comfort level when it comes to handing over
is strongest among millennials, 61 percent of whom wouldn’t rule out
buying a Level 5 autonomous vehicle. A whopping 71 percent of Baby
Boomers said they wouldn’t buy one, more than any other generation.
Comparing geographic regions, residents of urban areas were most
likely to say they would consider buying a self-driving car.
more people would feel uncomfortable riding in an AV driven by a
computer (68 percent) than hitching a ride with a stranger (39
given a choice, more people would choose a Level 2 vehicle, down from
the most common preference of Level 4 in 2016. A Level 2 vehicle
corrects lane drifting and avoids forward and rear collisions.
Automotive, the parent company of Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader,
noted that incidents such as the fatal accident involving an
Uber-operated autonomous vehicle in March are only partly to blame for
the change in consumer sentiment.
who are unaware of those incidents are just as likely as those who
heard about them to say that roads would be safer if all vehicles were
operated by people, as opposed to a collection of computers and radar,
Cox Automotive’s survey found. Sixty-one percent of respondents had
seen news coverage of the Uber incident.
March, a self-driving Uber test vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian
walking across the street outside of a crosswalk. The company
suspended its test program following the accident.
vehicles have also been involved in self-driving incidents. In one
safety officials said a Tesla Model X that was
in “Autopilot” mode accelerated and failed to detect a concrete
highway barrier before crashing. The driver, who died, also didn’t
have his hands on the steering wheel in the six seconds before impact.