More Than Half of Consumers Wouldn't Ride in a Self-Driving Car | Edmunds

More Than Half of Consumers Wouldn't Ride in a Self-Driving Car

More than half of consumers wouldn't even consider taking a ride in a self-driving car, according to a new study from research firm Gartner.

For the Gartner Consumer Trends in Automotive study, researchers surveyed 1,519 people in the U.S. and Germany and found that 55 percent of respondents said they wouldn't ride in a fully autonomous vehicle, and nearly half said they would not consider giving up their own vehicle, even if it could save 75 percent over the cost of owning a car.

"Fear of autonomous vehicles getting confused by unexpected situations, safety concerns around equipment and system failures, and vehicle and system security are top concerns around using fully autonomous vehicles," Mike Ramsey, research director at Gartner, said in a statement.

Survey respondents did acknowledge that self-driving cars could offer a number of advantages, including improved fuel economy, fewer and less severe crashes, the ability to use travel time for entertainment and work, and a safe transportation option when drivers are tired. Still, the majority felt the risks outweighed the benefits.

These latest results come on the heels of a AAA study earlier this year in which 75 percent of survey respondents said they'd be afraid to ride in a fully autonomous vehicle and only half would feel safe sharing the road with a car that was driving itself.

As automakers rush forward with the development of automated systems, this kind of consumer feedback will take on increased significance. Manufacturers' substantial investment in vehicle technology is deeply dependent on its acceptance by the buying public.

"A great race towards autonomy is underway, and companies are vying to introduce the first driverless cars to our roadways," said Greg Brannon, AAA's director of automotive engineering and industry relations. "However, while U.S. drivers are eager to buy vehicles equipped with autonomous technology, they continue to fear a fully self-driving vehicle."

That view is supported by the Gartner study in which 71 percent of those surveyed said they would consider riding in a partially autonomous vehicle. Features such as forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control are gaining popularity with consumers, even as many remain skeptical of cars that can completely drive themselves.

And, as previously reported by Edmunds, as demand for automated features grows, manufacturers will continue to escalate their investment in technology, which will in turn drive the industry toward vehicle autonomy. The hope on the part of automakers is that increased familiarity with partial autonomy will gradually broaden the acceptance of fully self-driving cars.

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