- Self-driving cars are becoming more attractive to consumers, especially if it means paying a lot less for car insurance, a new study found.
- Nine out of 10 drivers surveyed said they would consider buying a self-driving car if it meant a discount on insurance rates, said CarInsurance.com.
- An astonishing 20 percent of the 2,000 licensed drivers surveyed said they would "gladly turn over the keys," with or without a cut on insurance rates.
FOSTER CITY, California — Self-driving cars are becoming more attractive to consumers — especially if it means paying a lot less for car insurance, a new study found.
Nine out of 10 drivers surveyed said they would consider buying a self-driving vehicle if it meant a discount on insurance rates, said CarInsurance.com. The consumers were asked if they would buy or consider buying such a vehicle if they could get an 80-percent discount on auto insurance.
An astonishing 20 percent of the 2,000 licensed drivers surveyed said they would "gladly turn over the keys," to a self-driving vehicle even if they didn't get a cut on insurance rates.
"Our survey shows cheaper insurance will greatly influence consumer acceptance (of autonomous vehicles)," said Des Toups, CarInsurance.com managing editor, in a statement. "Some of the liability of operating a car will doubtless be assumed by the manufacturers. But a lot of the decrease in rates could come simply because there would be many fewer accidents."
Google has been working to develop autonomous vehicles and created an Internet sensation a year ago when it showed a blind man behind the wheel of its Toyota Prius-based self-driving car. The video has been viewed more than 5 million times.
While self-driving cars are in the experimental stage at this point, they are on the horizon. Nissan has promised to deliver a fully autonomous vehicle by 2020 and almost all car companies currently offer driver-assistance technologies that would be key components of fully autonomous vehicles.
In one intriguing aspect of the CarInsurance.com study, consumers said they are more inclined to trust traditional automakers, such as Honda, Ford or Toyota to develop a self-driving car, rather than trust such developments to a software company. Eighteen percent said they would trust relatively new carmaker Tesla.
When asked what they would do with their free time in a self-driving vehicle, 26 percent said they would text or talk with friends. But 9 percent said they would do other things, including "hold on for dear life."
Edmunds says: Saving money may be a big factor when it comes to consumer acceptance of self-driving cars.