A majority of Americans, Australians and Britons say they want self-driving-vehicle technology in their own cars, but expressed concerns about the level of security, according to a University of Michigan survey.
About 54% of the total people surveyed were "very concerned" about riding in a vehicle with no driver controls and self-driving commercial vehicles, the survey found. The percentage of people concerned dropped when it came to self-driving buses (45%) and self-driving taxis (42%).
However, the survey also revealed a high overall interest in owning a car with self-driving technology. Sixty-seven percent of the respondents from Australia said they were interested in having this technology. The U.S. showed 66% of its respondents were interested and the U.K. responded positively with 63%.
Researchers Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the U-M Transportation Research Institute asked respondents about their familiarity with and general opinion about the technology. Those who had previously heard about the technology were more likely to expect crash-reduction benefits and better fuel economy. They also were less concerned about learning how to use it. On the other hand, those respondents who hadn’t heard of the self-driving vehicles were more likely to say they would not ride in such vehicles.
When it came to gender, females were more likely to express a higher level of concern compared to males. Males and females were also split by the amount of benefits the technology would provide. Males felt the benefits with self-driving were likely to occur, while females did not.
Younger respondents were more likely to expect less traffic congestion, shorter travel time and lower insurance rates with self-driving vehicles. They were also less concerned about commercial self-driving vehicles than older respondents.
Among other findings:
- Respondents said they would spend the time not driving still paying attention to the road.
- Respondents with higher levels of education had less concern about self-driving vehicles.
- Respondents who were employed full time were more likely to expect fewer crashes and showed greater interest in the technology.
- The majority of respondents are unwilling to pay extra for the technology.
More than 1,500 people from the age of 18 years and older took the survey in the three countries.