Americans’ Interest in Self-Driving Cars Goes in Reverse

September 19, 2018

Less than half of Americans (43 percent) are interested in utilizing self-driving cars, down from 53 percent last year.

According to an annual sharing economy index by Allianz Global Assistance, the lack of interest is primarily attributed to safety concerns (71 percent in 2018, compared to 65 percent in 2017).

There are other reasons interest is waning, including cost, lack of familiarity and bad publicity. Recent high-profile crashes involving self-driving cars have dampened America’s confidence in automatic driving.

Companies continue to invest billions of dollars into autonomous vehicle technology, despite the recent fatal crashes, but it appears they have some work to do to overcome the qualms of Americans over safety. Only 52 percent of Americans (down 12 points from 2017) say they are confident that the technology will develop safely enough to consider trading their conventional vehicles for self-driving ones.

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 39 percent said they were not sure whether the vehicles would make roads safer or more dangerous, and 87 percent favored requiring that a human always be behind the wheel.

“Based on consumer perceptions, our survey reveals an uncertain future for self-driving cars,” says Daniel Durazo, director of communications, Allianz Global Assistance USA. “Many Americans are far from being convinced that self-driving cars can be operated safely on our streets. As our Future of Travel survey last year indicated, more travelers would feel safer on a rocket to space than being a passenger in a self-driving vehicle.”

Allianz global is a consumer specialty insurance and assistance company.

Self-Driving Cars Survey
Recently there have been news stories in the media about ride-sharing services (i.e. Uber, Lyft, etc.) concerning safety and the regulation of ride-sharing services. Have these stories made you more or less likely to use these services as a result?
2018 2017
Much more likely to use 6% 8%
Somewhat more likely to use 6% 7%
No impact 55% 50%
Somewhat less likely to use 19% 23%
Much less likely to use 14% 12%
If given the opportunity, how interested are you in utilizing self-driving/autonomous vehicles (Google, Uber, Tesla Autopilot, etc.)?
Very interested 17% 22%
Somewhat interested 26% 32%
Not very interested 25% 24%
Not at all interested 32% 23%
What are the reasons for your lack of interest in self-driving/autonomous cars?
Safety Concerns 71% 65%
Cost/Budget 21% 20%
Lack of Familiarity 23% 21%
Bad Publicity 12% 10%
I’d be interested eventually, but I don’t want to be a ‘guinea pig’ 24% 21%
Other 9% 10%
How confident are you that self-driving/autonomous cars will develop safely enough for you to consider using?
Very confident 18% 23%
Somewhat confident 34% 41%
Not very confident 31% 25%
Not at all confident 17% 11%

Methodology: These are findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance. For this survey, a sample of 1,005 Americans from the Ipsos I-Say panel was interviewed from May 2– 5, 2018.

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