Driverless Cars? Not in My Garage, Say 88 Percent of U.S. Adults | Edmunds

Driverless Cars? Not in My Garage, Say 88 Percent of U.S. Adults


Just the Facts:
  • According to a new Harris Interactive study, 88 percent of U.S. adults would be worried about riding in a driverless car.
  • Concerns included equipment failure, liability issues, system hackers and personal privacy.
  • Seapine Software, which commissioned the survey, concluded that automakers will need to address these issues for autonomous vehicles to gain acceptance.

CINCINNATI — According to a new study by Harris Interactive, 88 percent of U.S. adults would be worried about riding in a driverless car.

Despite impressive advances in autonomous vehicle technology, the online Harris study, commissioned by Seapine Software, found that the vast majority of the 2,039 American adults surveyed were not quite ready to turn over control of their cars to onboard electronic systems.

Of those questioned, 79 percent said they would be concerned about equipment failure, like a software glitch or a balky sensor; 59 percent would worry about liability issues, such as where blame would lie in the event of an accident; 52 percent would fret about hackers invading their cars' systems; and 37 percent would be concerned about various corporate and government entities collecting their personal data, such as speed and location.

 "As driverless cars enter the market, car manufacturers face the challenge of managing new technologies, like wheel speed sensors and laser scanners, to ensure quality, safety and compliance with strict government standards and regulations," said Rick Riccetti, president and CEO of Seapine Software, in a statement.

Although no nationwide standards are currently in place to regulate automated vehicles, development and testing continue at a rapid pace, and a number of individual states have implemented their own legislation to oversee the process.

Last year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a policy statement providing "recommended principles" that states may wish to apply during testing, but it concluded: "Self-driving vehicle technology is not yet at the stage of sophistication or demonstrated safety capability that it should be authorized for use by members of the public for general driving purposes."

Just this week, as reported by Edmunds, NHTSA announced that it is working on a proposal to require vehicle-to-vehicle communication, perhaps as soon as January 2017, an initiative intended to significantly reduce crashes through active avoidance on the part of the vehicles.

This "V2V" communication — along with such increasingly common technology as lane-keeping systems, automatic braking and automatic parking systems — is taking us ever closer to fully autonomous vehicle operation.

Edmunds says: Automakers, suppliers and the federal government have a big job ahead of them when it comes to convincing drivers to slide behind the wheel of an autonomous car.

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