Driverless Cars, Drinking Consumers Show Mixed Results

Unintended consequences can come along with innovations, including those around the Internet of Things.

Now it turns out there may be unexpected results in consumer behavior relating to self-driving cars.

On the upside, nearly half (49%) of potential drivers say they are likely to use an autonomous vehicle after consuming alcohol, according to a study comprising a survey of 1,300 adults in Australia conducted by Curtin University.

On the downside, more than a third (37%) say they are likely to consume more alcohol if using an autonomous vehicle afterwards.

“The results suggest that the introduction of AVs is likely to reduce drink-driving rates while facilitating greater participation in heavy episodic drinking,” states the report. 

The researchers said that by removing the need for a driver, autonomous vehicles were expected to substantially reduce rates of drink-driving.

“This benefit may be accompanied by an unintended negative consequence in the form of greater overall alcohol consumption due to increased availability of affordable and convenient transport,” states research associate Leon Booth, at the School of Psychology at Curtin University.

The end result is that driverless vehicles may reduce drinking and driving but also may increase binge drinking.

3 comments about "Driverless Cars, Drinking Consumers Show Mixed Results".
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  1. Dan Greenberg from Impossible Software, GmbH, March 30, 2020 at 4:57 p.m.

    It's important to know precisely how "autonomous" was defined for people taking the survey. The writing implies Level 5 autonomy - no stearing wheel - but Tesla "Autopilot" is not remotely that. In fact, an intoxicated driver in a Tesla is just that - a drunk driver - because they are required to be able to take over whenever Autopilot disengages. So, if people are going to drink more because they have Tesla, that's a very scary conclusion.

    If they meant Level 5 - well, that's at least a decade away, so the survey conclusion is a bit premature.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 30, 2020 at 5:12 p.m.

    Points well taken, Dan. The concept of a "driverelss" car may not always be taken as Level 5 from a consumer's perspective, since not sure most even know what that is.

  3. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , March 30, 2020 at 9:03 p.m.

    As a Non-drinker, i think it's comical to watch people intentionally get blitzed, and have to decided how to get home.   So why would an Auto-tonomous car make a difference?  they take a cab, an uber or designated driver.   Why would the car driving itself  make a difference if they would social drink or power flush??   Level 5 drinking won't even rationalize the options.

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