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Bizarre Notions of Self-Driving Cars

What do Americans think about the likelihood of climbing into a robot car?


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With very, very, very limited exceptions, there are no self-driving vehicles rolling around the highways and byways, transporting people who are busy making more productive use of their time. (Did it ever occur to you that you rarely hear proclamations about how self-driving will lead to more leisure time, but always something about improved personal productivity?)

That said, people have opinions about these vehicles, even though they are likely to have seen one only on the evening news.

DriversEd.com, “the #1 online driving school,” has conducted a recent study on the subject and found that Americans are mixed on the subject.

For example, while 44% responded that if a self-driving Uber arrived to pick them up, they’d climb in, but 35% said no way, they’d never get in a self-driving vehicle. There isn’t a whole lot of space between those two numbers.

Aptiv on the Strip


Aptiv is working with Lyft on offering self-driving rides in downtown Las Vegas. This is one of the still-rare public implementations of self-driving—and there is a safety driver in place.

That said, 67% of those who participated in the survey said that “one day” self-driving cars will be safer than those operated by humans. Which means that 33% don’t think that, which is fairly close to the number who won’t ride in a self-driving vehicle.

Here’s a peculiar finding: 30% believe that cruise control makes the road safer. A full 20% believes it makes driving les safe. Fifty-one percent are iffy either way.

But here’s the absolute kicker:

87% say that it is “essential” for a licensed driver to be behind the wheel of a self-driving car, ready to leap into any tricky circumstances.

Sort of defeats the whole self-driving thing, doesn’t it?


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