Self-driving vehicles are gaining in popularity – yet concerns among the general public remain high, especially when it comes to security issues. A report on CBS Boston.com explains that people are afraid of computer glitches, even though airplanes successfully fly on auto pilot and other machinery is successfully programmed to work autonomously in complex situations.
Google, one of the pioneers of autonomous vehicles, argues most auto accidents are caused by human error, which they say can be eliminated by self-driving cars.
Still, a new study from Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute of more than 1,500 people from the U.S., the U.K. and Australia confirmed the “fear” finding across all countries. Many expressed concern about the safety of riding in these self-driving vehicles. They said the vehicles wouldn’t drive as well as human-driven vehicles and that self-driving cars could get “confused” by unexpected road situations.
Yet a majority of respondents have a positive initial opinion of the technology and high expectations of its benefits. Consumers also agreed that while most like the new technology, they don’t want to pay anything extra for it.
In the U.S., Google has recently started testing self-driving cars on city streets and could make them available in about 10 years. Several states, including California, Nevada, Florida and Michigan, have passed legislation allowing tests of self-driving vehicles on public roads.
One town in the U.K., Milton Keynes, is already experimenting with driverless cars, which could be introduced there by mid-2017. American respondents expressed greater concern than those in the U.K. or in Australia about data privacy and about how driverless vehicles would interact with non-self-driving vehicles.
“The main implications are that motorists and the general public in the three countries surveyed, while expressing high levels of concern about riding in vehicles equipped with this technology, feel positive about self-driving vehicles, have optimistic expectations of the benefits, and generally desire self-driving vehicle technology when it becomes available,” concluded the study.
But only if the price is right.
Top Reads from The Fiscal Times:
- 2014 Winners of the “Fattest” Fast Food Chains
- In NYC, Front Doors Are for the One Percent
- Chikungunya, and Other Diseases You Now Have to Worry About