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Drivers Cool to Idea of Autonomous Vehicles

Survey shows they definitely want a steering wheel in a self-driver.

by on Jul.16, 2015

Drivers may be unsure of how much autonomous technology they want in their cars, but over 96% want a steering wheel and brake and gas pedals.

Self-driving cars may be the future, but if a recent survey by University of Michigan researchers is any indication, it’s not the near future: just a little over 15% of drivers want an autonomous vehicle.

The survey, which was conducted by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, polled 505 people and found that 43.8% didn’t want any form of autonomous technology in their vehicles while 40.6% were comfortable some level of self-driving tech.

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However, there was a nearly unanimous response to one question that doesn’t bode well for Google and its vehicles: 96.2% of respondents want a steering wheel, brake and gas pedal in their vehicle no matter the level of autonomy.

“They don’t need them,” Google says on its website. “Our software and sensors do all the work.”

While the California-based tech giant’s first fleet of test vehicles had those three items in them, the next generation will not. Instead it will feature a simple red button allowing riders to simply shut the car off.

(Mercedes lurches toward autonomy with next E-Class. For details, Click Here.)

Despite the reticence from those surveyed, much of the technology needed for self-driving vehicles is in many vehicles already and more is coming. In fact, the Cadillac CT6 and Mercedes E-Class will feature a level of autonomous driving in 2017.

German maker Audi plans to have similar technology in its next generation A8, coming in the next 18 months or so and then it will cascade across the brand’s line-up in the years ahead.

(Click Here for more about Ford’s plans for autonomous vehicles.)

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Females most frequently preferred no self-driving (47.6%), while males preferred partially self-driving (41.2%)
  • The most preferred method for inputting a route or destination was nearly equally divided between touchscreens (37.8%) and voice commands (36.2%)
  • The method most preferred by females was voice commands (41.2%), while the most preferred method for males was touchscreen (37.4%)
  • Most respondents (59.4%) prefer to be notified of the need to take control of a partially self-driving vehicle with a combination of sound, vibration, and visual warnings.

(To see more about Audi’s commitment to self-driving technology on the next-gen A8, Click Here.)

The survey not only found that folks aren’t necessarily keen on turning over control, but also that 68.5% of respondents were either moderately or very concerned about riding in a completely self-driving car. The number is slightly higher than last year, when 66.8% of respondents conveyed the same worries.

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3 Responses to “Drivers Cool to Idea of Autonomous Vehicles”

  1. Jim says:

    Shame the polling didn’t go further and poll people with physical handicaps that make it impossible for them to drive and older people who are about to and have reach the age that they have to give up their keys and lose their freedom.

  2. Jorge says:

    While AVs have a definite place in society such as to help the elderly, those who have mobility issues, people with alcohol or drug addiction who may still get killed after they exit the vehicle… the majority of society does not feel the need for a computerized taxi, especially when they see the price they will pay for AVs.

    My deep, deep concern with AVs however is the rush-to-market mentality that has been exhibited by many including the UK who desires to be the Mecca of AV production. I hope that authorities have the courage to NOT allow any AV on the roadways until it is documented to have the proper safety systems, mission critical design redundant systems, proper “limp mode” capabilities to insure passenger safety when, not if the computer gets confused by EMI, RFI or input signals from other vehicles. Failing to hold AV makers accountable to meet the very highest safety standards will prove to be a travesty to society and there should be criminal punishment for those who abdicate their responsibilities to insure that AVs have the right stuff before being allowed to operate on public roadways.

  3. Or if they would like a “Return Home” option for vehicles so they don’t have to worry about parking at the airport or game, or if they like the concept of a car that could drop their kids off at various places, then come back, so they can avoid all of the taxi dead time…

    This is a classic case of the question generating the result.