Driverless Cars: Majority Don't Believe They Will Ever Own One; 60% Of Millennials

Self-driving cars are coming but most people don’t want one.

In addition, most people expect cars in the future to be easily hacked.

In this context, the good news is that the average car on the road today is more than 11 years old, meaning that most cars are unconnected from the Internet.

However, the rate of connectivity is increasing substantially every year. For example, in 2011 there were only two vehicle models with Internet access as standard. This year, it will be 133 models, with another 69 in which Net access can be added as an option.

This compares to 173 vehicle models this year without Internet access, according to a new study by Kelley Blue Book

The study is based on three separate surveys: one to 1,200 members of a study panel, one to 2,100 consumers through and a third to 813 consumers, also via

While major car companies like BMW and tech companies like Google and Apple forge ahead with creating driverless cars, the consumer appetite for such cars is hardly there, even among millennials, according to the Kelley study. Here’s the demographic split of consumers who do not believe they will ever own a self-driving car:

  • 60% -- Millennial (15-35)
  • 66% -- Gen X (35-55 years old)
  • 77% -- Baby boomer (61-69)
  • 88% -- Silent generation (70-90 years old)

There seems to be quite a gap from where consumers are today compared to where technology is going tomorrow.

For example, while consumers are concerned about car hacking in the future, other issues are top of mind today. In fact, just about all other issues are more of a concern to consumers than their car being hacked. Here are the top safety concerns relating to consumers while driving a car:

  • 84% -- Distracted driving (people texting or talking on phones)
  • 74% -- Impaired drivers (like drunk drivers)
  • 45% -- Mechanical-related problems (like brake failure)
  • 41% -- Weather-related problems (snow, hurricanes)
  • 24% -- Road rage
  • 19% -- Tire-related problems (getting a flat)
  • 17% -- Animal-related problems (hitting one)
  • 6% -- Injured by air bag
  • 4% -- Car vulnerability to hackers

So it looks like there are some marketing challenges ahead. 

Driverless cars will be developed and introduced into the marketplace. The issue is who the makers will get to sit in those cars as they drive.



32 comments about "Driverless Cars: Majority Don't Believe They Will Ever Own One; 60% Of Millennials".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, March 8, 2016 at 9:23 a.m.

    Perhaps (and hopefully) people are more interested in keeping technology from getting between the driver and the machine, which is what driverless cars ultimately do. You list all the safety concerns, but what about getting into why people drive and enjoyment from it. This will (thankfully) keep driverless cars off the road for a long time.

  2. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , March 8, 2016 at 9:39 a.m.

    Good points Jonathan, I'm with you , It's not just a destination, it's the EXperience.
    Missing from the list is the point I keep bringing up.  Who programs the "moral code" of the systems.  When a collision is unavoidable , which car is "sacrificed"?  By age?  by value of the car? Number of occupants?   And when it all come crashing down, and a bus is hit , as it did on Valentine's day in California, what are the insurance responsibilitiues?  The car owner? the car manufacturer? The GPS program?  Google?  Apple?  The Hacker???  Driverless cars is the dumbest technolgy idea to ever "come down the pike"  And thew number one reason mentioned above is people texting and driving, yet  more and more manufacturers are putting the net right there on your dashboard to distract you even more?      Dumb.........dum, dum dum.

  3. Jennifer Jarratt from Leading Futurists, LLC, March 8, 2016 at 9:47 a.m.

    If I could have one today, I'd get in it. And probably many people threatened with a loss of their independence (aging, or other issues) would also say "yes" to their new driverless car. I'd suggest that a reason why "silents" didn't say they'd ever own a driverless car was more about --it won't be available in my lifetime--than about not liking them!

    Yes, driving can be fun--but also a huge waste of time and energy, as well as a seriously inefficient use of resources and income. I suspect in future we'll have autoparks where those who still want to get "behind the wheel," (what's that, mommy?) will be able to thoroughly enjoy themselves without any barriers or road rules or traffic jams.

  4. Laurie Tema-lyn from Practical Imagination Enterprises, March 8, 2016 at 9:49 a.m.

    I suspect one of the key markets for driverless cars will be boomers and beyond- specifically people who are starting to feel uncomfortable about driving in certain conditions- like night driving, yet they still want their own vehicles and the indpendence that a vehicle brings.

  5. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, March 8, 2016 at 10:06 a.m.

    Consumers never demanded airbags or seat belts, either. The Government will slowly make it such a hassle for individuals to obtain special permission (to risk the lives of the rest of us who want greater safety) that future generations will wonder why people in olden times tolerated such a high death rate on the highways. Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.

  6. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 8, 2016 at 10:13 a.m.

    Good points, Jonathan, but that issue was not addressed in the study. 

  7. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 8, 2016 at 10:14 a.m.

    Thanks, Mark, those are definitely some of the major issues that have to be addressed, none of which are simple.

  8. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 8, 2016 at 10:17 a.m.

    They're not quite ready ye for prime time, Jennifer (see some of the issues reaised in the comment by Mark, just above yours). Also of note, 60% of millennials believe they will never own one.

  9. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, March 8, 2016 at 10:19 a.m.

    That might imply an older demograpic, Laurie, which the study shows are least likely to go driverless. The question that was not in the study is whether consmers would ride in a driverless car, as opposed to owning one. I'm sure someone already is looking at that issue.

  10. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 8, 2016 at 10:23 a.m.

    Interesting point, Douglas. Are you suggesting the government ultimately might require that cars be driverless?

  11. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US replied, March 8, 2016 at 10:51 a.m.

    Jennifer- " also a huge waste of time and energy, as well as a seriously inefficient use of resources and income."   Seriously???   Moving from point A to B is called "transportation", it has a cost.   Planes, trains, and automobiles are not a waste of resources and energy.   All your worldly goods came to you through one of those means.  You sound like you just need to relinquish your freedom and turn over your life to the Regional Bus lines, and have to figure out how their schedule will control your life , if you need transportation.   Then your resources and income will be used for the buses instead of  having a car in your driveway for 24 hour a day access.

  12. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 8, 2016 at 11:02 a.m.

    Thanks for addiing that, Mark. Obvious question is what happens over a long period of time from now. Intersting points all around here.

  13. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US replied, March 8, 2016 at 11:27 a.m.

    I have gotten out of the car before because my 49 year old brother can't seem to stop texting while driving. When you are his passenger , the shoulder stripe on the passenger side of the road is always directly  under my seat, and the rumble strips drown out the radio.  So would I be a passenger in a driverless car? No , my brother is scary enough.

  14. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, March 8, 2016 at 11:35 a.m.

    Thanks, Mark....To your point, there is auto technology that notifies when a car crosses into another lane, sometimes called "lane departure warning""'s a lilnk that may be some some interest

  15. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , March 8, 2016 at 12:18 p.m.

    My brother needs a "slot car" track to keep him between the lines!!!  His is more of his own personal travel lane, rather than just a "departure"!! Ha

  16. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, March 8, 2016 at 12:31 p.m.

    Prior to 2007 the Majority of People would have said they would not own a magical device called the Smartphone but would stick with their Blackberries and feature phones.

  17. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 8, 2016 at 12:52 p.m.

    Likely true, Leonard, since not many consumers envisioned what the new device (iPhone intro in 2007) coudl do, nevermind where it would evolve to from there.

  18. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US replied, March 8, 2016 at 1:22 p.m.

    BUT.............the phone is a device for communication and information.  It doesn't control an aspect of your life, (although I have witnessed many people that are controlled by that phone).  But now you want to give complete control of a 5000 pound moving vehicle that has a car seat in it with your pride and joy and your bride and turn it  over to the equivilant of that technology in that very phone.  Sorry, can't give up that control.

  19. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 8, 2016 at 1:33 p.m.

    Valid point, Mark...but keep in mind, that the techology around connected cars continues to advance and is being tested gobally, even as wel speak.

  20. Nona Smith from WOMA INC, March 8, 2016 at 4:56 p.m.

    I think it might be fun, but only if all the other cars on the road had the same capabilities!

  21. bill sherman from foodmix, March 8, 2016 at 5:01 p.m.

    People don't know yet that they want them. As to safety, currently there are 1 million car accidents and 21,000 car-related deaths each year in the US. It's carnage on a mass scale. We don't see it because it's the water we swim in. Driverless cars are safer cars. They will ease traffic, eliminate the need for massive parking lots in front of stores, and provide other benefits we can't see yet. They are the future.

  22. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 8, 2016 at 6:58 p.m.

    That's precisely the Catch-22 in all of this, Nona.

  23. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, March 8, 2016 at 6:59 p.m.

    No argument there, Bil, at least in the sense that they will be created. The issue, as Nona astutely points out just above your comment, is the transition.

  24. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US replied, March 8, 2016 at 8:27 p.m.


  25. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 9, 2016 at 10:21 a.m.

    Correct, Mark, as the leaders in the industry are well aware.

  26. bill sherman from foodmix, March 9, 2016 at 5:13 p.m.

    The transition will be interesting, agreed. It could follow an adoption curve. I think Millennials and early adopters will groove on driverless cars.

  27. Richard Hall from Videology, March 9, 2016 at 6:27 p.m.

    Wrong question. In the future you won't need to "own" a driverless car - they will be offered like utilities as part of the "transportation cloud" by Google, Uber and Apple. Like ZipCar you'll pay as you use the service.

    A better question is if Uber, Google or Apple offered a driverless car service that picked you up and dropped you at a price similar to Uber which service would you use...

    - I would use Google

    - I would use Uber

    - I would use Apple

    - I would not use such a service

  28. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 9, 2016 at 6:55 p.m.

    You may be right, Bill, though the study has the majority of millennials not expecting to jump on least at this time.

  29. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, March 9, 2016 at 6:56 p.m.

    That is a great point I was aware of, Richard, and that is the industry (automakers, etc.) direction. I intentionallly left that issue for another day

  30. Matt Johnson from Evolution Marketing replied, March 22, 2016 at 10:11 a.m.

    Please elaborate on how driverless cars will ease traffic and reduce the need for large parking lots in front of stores?  Are you implying that human drivers simply don't know how to drive and are causing the traffic jams etc?  Versus the highway system in most places hasn't kept up with the volume of cars that are hitting the road and commuting to work each day?  And where are all the cars going to go after they drop people off at the stores?  Back home?  Stack themselves on top of each other?  Just because you aren't driving them doesn't mean they simply go away when you get out - they still need to park somewhere.

  31. Matt Johnson from Evolution Marketing, March 22, 2016 at 10:16 a.m.

    To the folks who commented that back in 2007 no one said they WANTED a smartphone.  There is no way you can compare a driverless car to this because the phone will not literally control your life.  You can set the phone down, you can turn it off.  Once you get in a driverless car you are putting yourself in the hands of technology.  And no matter who programs it ALL technology has bugs or goes through a glitch from time to time.  And how long will the technology be relevant thus forcing us to "upgrade" the car?  Think of it this way, I have still have an original Gen2 ipad...functions but battery life is crap, the touch screen is not as sensitive as it once was and yes, every now and again it self-shuts down to reboot.  Imagine this happening at 75mph on the highway.

  32. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, March 22, 2016 at 11:57 a.m.

    Valid points, Matt, thanks for chiming in.

Next story loading loading..