A new study finds consumers are warming to the idea of self-driving cars.
On the heels of Elon Musk’s announcement that Tesla owners will soon be able to stream Netflix and YouTube, with streaming while moving to become available once fully self-driving cars are approved by regulators, DriversEd.com has released the 2019 State of Self-Driving Cars Report.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, human error accounts for 94% of motor vehicle accidents in the United States, with only 2% due to vehicle component failure or degradation.
If human drivers are the cause of most car accidents, then self-driving cars could be the solution to making our roads safer, says Laura Adams, safety and education analyst at DriversEd.com.
Still, many are skeptical about the safety of autonomous cars. DriversEd.com decided to look into the state of consumer perceptions of self-driving cars.
The survey found 67% of Americans believe self-driving cars will be safer than human-operated cars -- and 44% say that if a self-driving Uber car picked them up, they would get in.
The support for autonomous vehicles is, however, tempered with caution, with 87% of respondents saying a licensed driver should be behind the wheel ready to take control if needed. Thirty-five percent say they would never drive in a self-driving car, but 2% of that group answered in the affirmative that they will be safer.
Many cars already have one element of self-driving technology: cruise control. Thirty percent of those surveyed say cruise control makes the roads safer, while 20% say it makes the roads less safe. A slight majority -- 51% -- say cruise control results in roads that are no safer or less safe.
The survey was conducted online using Survey Monkey with 1,055 polled, spanning across the United States. The demographics of those polled represented a broad range of household income, geographic location, age, and gender.
Survey results show that, while it's still a controversial issue, many people are warming to the idea of autonomous cars, Adams says.
Automation in motor vehicles is not new. “Autonomous and semi-autonomous features are already being incorporated into many cars on the road, particularly luxury vehicles,” Adams states.
Features like lane steer assist, automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and forward-collision warning are designed to make vehicles safer and mitigate collisions.
“Technologies will undoubtedly continue to improve and become more popular in the years ahead,” Adams states. “Disruption is on the horizon — but the question is to what extent.”