Only 21% of American adult Internet users are inclined to be chauffeured by an autonomous vehicle, according to a recent survey undertaken by Brookings researchers. “The support for self-driving cars is down a bit from other surveys over the past year,” reports Darrell M. West at Brookings.
Men (28%) and young people (27%) were more favorably disposed to autonomous vehicles than women and older people, the survey found.
Financial incentives could have some impact. “If an insurance company offered a 10% insurance rate discount to ride in a self-driving car due to its increased safety, 29% say they are likely to do so, 49% are not, and 22% do not know or give no answer,” West reports. “This eight-percentage point increase over the 21% number with no discount suggests ridership can be increased through insurance incentives.”
Pluralities of respondents did think autonomous vehicles could be helpful to senior citizens and the visually impaired. “These groups are likely beneficiaries of self-driving cars because these vehicles will provide enhanced mobility for people who have few options now with human-operated transportation,” West reports.
Survey results suggest respondents would prefer to continue to see 40,000 Americans die in highway accidents each year than to pursue a safer alternative. The researchers conclude that “…even the provision of favorable information regarding the safety benefits of self-driving cars over those of human-operated ones does not move many people in a more positive direction.”