Rocket Ship, Flying Vehicle or Driverless Car? Guess Which Americans Fear Most

June 20, 2017

If the future were now, American travelers would feel safer on a rocket to space than being a passenger in a self-driving or autonomous vehicle, a survey by travel and specialty insurer Allianz Global Assistance USA finds.

With experimental transport technology accelerating rapidly, the vacation vehicle of tomorrow that is closest to reality today – the self-driving car – is among the most concerning for potential travelers worried about their safety, according to the Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index released today.

Self-driving or autonomous vehicles rate lowest for travelers “very interested” and highest for “safety concerns” among those not interested when compared to other future travel methods surveyed, including space travel, supersonic travel, Hyperloop high-speed rail, and even flying cars.

According to Allianz, most Americans are at least somewhat interested in experiencing nearly all the new ways to explore the world, or even beyond it. But only 22 percent of travelers are very interested (and 32 percent “somewhat” interested) in self-driving vehicles being developed by all the major auto manufacturers and Silicon Valley companies like Google, Uber and Tesla.

Sixty-five percent of those not interested cite “safety concerns.”

Allianz analyzed the results from an Ipsos poll conducted May 3-5, 2017. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1,009 Americans aged 18 years and older was interviewed online. The company said the results are considered accurate within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population of adults in the U.S. been polled.

“While transportation technology is poised to change the way Americans travel, safety has emerged as a top concern,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “We expect consumers to be more hesitant in adopting new technologies like the artificial intelligence steering self-driving vehicles, than they might be with existing technologies such as space and supersonic travel that have been developed but are not yet available to the masses.”

While the current outlook for traveler uptake of self-driving vehicles is uncertain, the future is brighter with 64 percent of travelers confident that this travel method will develop safely enough for them to consider using, which, along with Hyperloop high-speed rail (64 percent), is well above the confidence for the safety of supersonic travel (56 percent), space travel (51 percent) or flying cars (49 percent).

In total, however, only a minority are “very confident” about the safety of any of these travel methods being safe enough for mainstream consumer use.

Self-driving/ Autonomous Vehicles: (Google, Uber, Tesla) Space Travel: (Orbital, Space Station, Moon, Mars) Supersonic Travel:

(Flying faster than speed of sound)

Flying Cars: Taxi Drones, VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing), etc. Hyperloop:

(High-Speedmagnetic levitation train)

Very Interested 22% 22% 24% 25% 27%
Somewhat Interested 32% 24% 30% 26% 34%
Not Interested 47% 55% 46% 48% 39%

(Among those not interested)

Safety Concerns 65% 48% 47% 61% 51%
Cost/Budget 20% 41% 32% 24% 22%
Lack of Familiarity 21% 20% 28% 26% 34%
Don’t want to be first/test subject 21% 27% 23% 22% 24%
Bad Publicity 10% 4% 5% 4% 5%
Other 10% 12% 10% 8% 7%
Very Confident 23% 15% 19% 16% 22%
Somewhat Confident 41% 36% 37% 33% 42%
Not Confident 36% 49% 44% 51% 36%

Source: Allianz Global Assistance USA (AGA Service Company)

Boston Consulting Group has predicted that autonomous vehicle business will increase to $42 billion by 2025 and account for a quarter of global sales by 2035. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Tesla Motors Inc., BMW, Ford, Volvo and Google showed off their models and shared their visions of an autonomous future; overall there were some 138 auto-tech exhibitors seeking deals in the self-driving economy.

But the car makers and tech firms appear to be ahead of consumers in their thinking.The Allianz findings on lack of public confidence in the safety of driverless cars track with the overall results from a Morning Consult survey , although in this survey younger drivers are seen as having more confidence than older drivers. Only 23 percent of Americans surveyed told Morning Consult they are willing to ride in an autonomous car, while 28 percent said they are unwilling.

[graphiq id=”kykMnsTsVed” title=”Americans Not Convinced of Driverless Car Safety” width=”600″ height=”563″ url=”” frozen=”true”]

Topics Auto Allianz Autonomous Vehicles

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