A new survey published by Edmunds.com suggests while vehicles capable of driving themselves may be available in the next three or four years, a large segment of the population wants nothing to do with them.
Edmunds waits until the end of its 10-page report (which neglects to indicate the methodology behind the survey) to get to the most interesting statistics, which include the fact nearly 20 percent of Millennials won’t be ready to let cars do the driving for at least another 10 years.
Another significant amount – 16 percent – of people in that all-important age group say they will never buy an autonomous vehicle (AV), while 35 percent indicated they would not even feel safe in a self-driving car with a person in the driver’s seat who could take over if necessary.
And remember, this is just Millennials we’re talking about. Unsurprisingly, Edmunds found that resistance to self-driving tech increases with the age of the person to whom you’re speaking, to the point that half of people aged 65 and over say they’d never own an autonomous car and 72 percent wouldn’t feel safe in one even with another human at the wheel.
That statistic is particularly interesting, because proponents of AVs tout the technology’s potential for helping those with mobility challenges, including senior citizens, get where they need to go.
It’s a fair assumption the opinions of today’s seniors don’t carry much weight in the debate because, presumably, most of them will have passed away before AVs become commonplace.
However, the reluctance among more youthful generations to adopt self-driving technology means automakers have a lot of work ahead of them before self-driving cars gain the market acceptance necessary to make them a reality.